Premier League players Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, and Giovani Lo Celso were included by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on the squad to face Paraguay, Uruguay, and Peru in next month’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
According to the UK’s current anti-Covid protocols, the three won’t get into trouble after arriving home from the tournament, but would need to quarantine for 10 days upon their return as Argentina is part of the UK’s red travel list.
To play or not to play for Argentina
Argentina is eyeing qualification to the World Cup in Qatar next year. As such, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham’s duo Romero and Lo Celso face a tough decision.
In September, Premier League clubs agreed not to allow South American players to travel to the international games due to quarantine rules. Martinez, Romero, and Lo Celso were all involved in the games, though, upsetting their clubs. While Emiliano Martinez obtained Villa’s last-minute approval to fly out, Romero and Lo Celso went against club orders at Tottenham and were fined.
Argentina named 30 players for its upcoming games. The final match during the October international window will be played on Oct. 15, which is just one day before Aston Villa plays Wolves, and two ahead of Spurs’ trip to face Newcastle in the Premier League. Basically, Martinez, Romero, and Lo Celso all become unavailable for their clubs for at least one game if they play for Argentina.
Last month, Argentina’s qualifier against Brazil in Sao Paulo was called off due to the intervention of health officers claiming a breach in the Covid rules. Play stopped just minutes after it had started, and the match never resumed to the anger of both national teams.
Argentina sits second in the South American race to Qatar with 18 points in eight games. Brazil is first with 24 points after winning all its encounters. At the end of the qualifiers, the first four teams in the standings go to the World Cup, with the fifth entering a playoff.