SAO PAULO : Fearful of losing their England and Spain-based players over quarantine restrictions, Brazil on Friday called up an additional nine footballers for next month's triple header of World Cup qualifiers.
Of the original 25 players called up for Brazil’s games against Chile, Argentine and Peru, 11 play in England or Spain.
The English Premier League said its clubs would not release players heading to countries on the United Kingdom’s 'red list' because they would have to quarantine on their return and miss important club matches. Spain’s LaLiga supported its clubs’ decision to do the same.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino asked the two leagues to release the players but an impasse developed and no resolution has been forthcoming.
Miranda, Hulk and Vinicius Jnr were among those recalled by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).
Uncapped midfielders Edenilson of Internacional and Matheus Nunes of Sporting Lisbon were also included, as was Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Everson.
Brazil’s coordinator of national teams said he still hoped all those originally named would make it across the Atlantic.
“Our preparations begin in three days,” said Juninho Paulista. “We repeat: The qualifiers are the World Cup for us. That’s why we can’t keep waiting for an answer, so we have to be ready and prepared.”
Brazil play Chile away on Sept. 2 before hosting Argentina on Sept. 5 and Peru on Sept. 9.
The five-times world champions top the South American qualifying group with 18 points from six games. The top four in the 10-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022.
Players added to Brazil squad:
Goalkeepers: Everson, Santos
Midfielders: Edenilson, Gerson, Matheus Nunes
Forwards: Hulk, Malcom, Vinicius Jr
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)