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Argentina coach vows no repeat of quarantine chaos

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s England-based players will stay for all three of their South American World Cup qualifying games in the current window and “under no circumstances” return early due to quarantine rules, coach Lionel Scaloni said on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur pair Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso are all in the squad for the match away to Paraguay on Thursday and home games against Uruguay on Sunday and Peru on Oct 14.

The players were involved in chaotic scenes last month as Brazilian health officials stopped Argentina's match against Brazil, alleging the England-based players had not served the necessary quarantine after arriving from a red-list country.

The match was abandoned and the players returned to their English clubs, missing Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia a few days later.

“We’re not doing the same as last time,” Scaloni said.

“(Last time) I said they would be coming for all three games because that was what we’d agreed in principle. Then there were problems and I freed them. It’s totally different now.

“There are three games and under no circumstances will they be leaving prematurely. If that happens then we’ll make an official (protest)."

Premier League players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to travel to countries on the UK government's red list and be permitted to play and train when they quarantine on return.

Argentina are second in the 10-team South American qualifying group, six points behind leaders Brazil. The top four qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

Source: Reuters

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