Brazil waits for EPL players; Argentina expecting Messi

August 30, 2021
Argentina's Lionel Messi
Argentina's Lionel Messi

SAO PAULO (AP):

Brazil coach Tite remained hopeful on Monday that nine of his players in the English Premier League will show up for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Argentina had almost all 30 members of their chosen squad -- including four from England -- available for the qualifier against Venezuela on Thursday.

The Brazilian Football Confederation said 21 players have arrived in Sao Paulo for the qualifiers against Chile, Argentina and Peru. More were expected later in the day.

Tite named a larger-than-normal 45-man squad in case he couldn't count on the nine England-based players who were stopped from travelling: Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Ederson, Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Fred (Manchester United), Richarlison (Everton) and Raphinha (Leeds).

The Premier League clubs have based their decision on South American nations being red-listed by the British government due to the pandemic. When the players return to the United KIngdom, they would have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine and have little chance of training.

Already in Brazil were Casemiro, Eder Militao, Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid), Alex Sandro, Danilo (Juventus), Bruno Guimaraes, Lucas Paqueta (Lyon), Lucas Verissimo (Benfica), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Claudinho, Malcom (Zenit St. Petersburg), Santos (Athletico), Edenilson (Internacional), Hulk, Everson, Guilherme Arana (Atletico Mineiro), Everton Ribeiro, Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Weverton (Palmeiras), Daniel Alves and Miranda (Sao Paulo). Expected later in the day was Gerson (Olympique Marseille).

Meanwhile, Argentina could count on almost a full squad in Caracas for matches against Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia. The Argentine Football Association posted pictures of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) and midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso (Tottenham) upon arrival. Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa) and Cristian Romero (Tottenham) also arrived.

Martinez and midfielder Buendia have agreed with Villa to play Argentina's first two World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil.

Paris Saint-Germain players were expected to arrive on Tuesday; Neymar and Marquinhos for Brazil, and Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes and Angel di Maria for Argentina.

FIFA has told CONMEBOL there will be consequences for clubs who don't release players as required, which could mean disciplinary action.

On Sunday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against a complaint by the Spanish league against the triple-header of fixtures in South American qualifiers, which would end too close to the resumption of its competition.

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