The call “classic from Anvisa” between the Brazil and Argentina should no longer occur. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced this Wednesday, 10, that it accepted an agreement proposed by FIFA and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) for the duel valid for the South American Qualifiers of the 2022 World Cup, previously rescheduled to September 22, in São Paulo, be cancelled. The change meets a request from the technician Titus and the national team coordinator, Juninho Paulista, and is yet another chapter in an increasingly fierce rivalry between the continent’s most successful teams.
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In an official note, the CBF informed that the technical commission has no interest in holding the game, as “it could be harmful to the preparation of the team for the World Cup”, with “risks of injuries, suspensions and boycott of the Argentines to the game, in addition to to make it impossible to play a second game in September in South America.”
“I will spare no effort to meet the technical commission. Our priority is to win the sixth championship in Qatar. If the match is not recommended by the team’s command, we will invest so that the match does not take place”, said CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues, who was previously in favor of holding the duel.
The probable cancellation, which still needs to be made official by FIFA, will not change the classification table of the Qualifiers in any way, as Brazil finished in first, with 45 points, and Argentina in second, with 39 points, both undefeated. However, it opens the opportunity for the CBF to schedule two friendlies on the FIFA date in September, the last one before the World Cup, preferably in Europe and against African teams (since it has not been possible to find good European opponents).
One of the fears of the Brazilian commission was that a possible confusion in the classic would result in expulsion and consequent suspension in the debut of the World Cup, since yellow and red cards in the Qualifiers count for the World Cup. In addition, the truculence of the Argentines in recent classics is seen as a threat to the team’s physical condition. There was the possibility that the neighbors would send an alternative team, just to “fulfill the schedule”.
Despite avoiding firmer public statements, coach Tite confided to people close to him that he was “choked” with Lionel Messi’s team, especially for an alleged disloyalty in the episode involving Anvisa and also for the defeat in the Copa America final, at Maracanã. He wanted the game to be rescheduled, but not in September in Brazil.
Rivalry on the skin
“I have an opinion, but I’ll keep it…”, summarized Tite, without hiding the visible expression of discontent, when talking about the topic, in May, before the last call-up of the selection for the May friendlies. Juninho Paulista gave more tips. “It’s not the fact of playing against Argentina, or not. It’s all planning. We have to plan ahead, there is the travel logistics. This is not overnight (…) Regarding the September game, we are still discussing internally and together with the presidency.”, he explained.
The game abandoned on September 5, 2021, by the Cup qualifiers, when Anvisa inspectors invaded the Neo Química Arena field in São Paulo, in the first minutes of the ball rolling, aiming to remove Argentine athletes who did not comply with sanitary protocols to enter Brazil. Athletes and committees still tried to talk to the health agents so that the game could continue, but soon the Argentines left the field, and the match was cancelled.
CBF and AFA were punished for the incidents: the Brazilian confederation was fined 550,000 Swiss francs, just over 3 million reais, while Argentina had to pay 250,000 Swiss francs, or 1.4 million reais. Finally, goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez and midfielder Emiliano Buendía, from Aston Villa, defender Cristian Romero, from Tottenham, and midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, who at the time also played for Tottenham, were suspended for two games for breaching the protocol of the FIFA for Covid-19 in international matches.
Tite criticized the Argentines for the episode and was in favor of the rescheduling. “It is necessary, it is good, it is right, it is fair and it should be. Regardless of the risk you take. I could be in a very comfortable situation and say ‘no, leave it alone, let’s put it off for the World Cup’. No, you have to do the right thing, you have to face Argentina,” said the coach in an interview with SportTV on April 5th.
“In my opinion, it should be in Brazil, in my private life. The fair would be in Brazil. Is not? Let’s go anywhere, let’s go to measure forces. It even serves as a preparation for the World Cup,” he added at the time. To people close to him, the gaucho coach was very hurt by the fact that Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni and captain Messi had told him that they did not know that the athletes could not play, something later contradicted by behind-the-scenes information about the Argentine delegation’s journey. from the hotel to Itaquera.
The atmosphere between the teams heats up even more recent disagreements such as the controversial argument between Tite and Messi, on November 15, 2019, during a friendly match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The two even exchanged insults on the field. “I only complained because he was supposed to take a card and he told me to shut up, then I told him to shut up. And it’s over. I don’t want to answer that so I don’t put situations,” Tite explained at the time.
Months earlier, the coach had already raised his tone against the Argentine star’s declaration that the Copa América was arranged for Brazil to win. “A little more care and respect.” Last year, the Argentine national team made history winning the 47th edition of the Copa América in the heart of Maracanã, in front of Brazil itself ending a fast of 28 years without achievements and, on top of that, equaling Uruguay as the greatest champion of the tournament, with 15 titles.
In November, the goalless draw between Brazil and Argentina, for the 14th round of the Qualifiers, was marked by the controversial bid between defender Nicolás Otamendi and striker Raphinha. The Argentine defender landed an elbow in the face of the Brazilian player, who began to bleed immediately after the blow. The VAR analysis understood just like a “medium intensity blow”subject to a yellow card.
Tite did not hide his anger with the refereeing. The Gaucho coach treated as “inconceivable” the fact that VAR had not recommended the expulsion of the Argentine player. “It’s impossible, I’ll repeat: it’s impossible not to see Otamendi’s elbow on Raphinha. I’m not talking about the result of the game, but who wants to have exemption in the analysis, it’s very clear”, shouted Tite. The coach of the Brazilian team avoided relating the result to the bid, which took place in the first half. “Would that determine the outcome? I don’t know. It was a great game, with technical quality, tradition… But it has a component that has to be the same for both.”
In short, Tite, who has accumulated three defeats, three victories and a draw against his rival, in addition to the canceled game, wants a fight against Argentina, but he would not like that to interfere with the preparation for the World Cup, which would happen if the Anvisa classic took place in São Paulo, in September.
It is worth remembering that Brazil and Argentina have not faced each other in World Cups since 1990, the year of the fateful elimination with the assistance of Diego Armando Maradona and a goal by Caniggia. Before, they beat the rival 2-1 in 1974, drew goalless in 1978 and won again in 1982 by 3-1, in the historic team led by Telê Santana.
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