Argentina upset MCG Superclásico apple cart



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Brazil versus Argentina at MCG cancelled Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Brazil’s international friendly against Argentina scheduled for Melbourne, Australia, in June has been canceled.

The ‘ESPN’ stated that the June 11th match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) had been planned as part of Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup later this year, but the event organizers and the Brazilian federation have announced the game is off because South American champions Argentina won’t travel.

Earlier, on April 20th, the Victorian Government confirmed the Superclásico will be played at the Melbourne Stadium on June 11th, five years after the world football giants packed it out with more than 95,000 fans for a friendly.

The 1,00,024-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known locally as ‘The G’, is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Victoria (Australia).

The Brazil-Argentina football rivalry (also known as Superclásico de las Américas and Superclássico das Américas) is a sports rivalry between the national football teams of the two countries and their respective sets of fans.

The organizers said in a statement, “Regrettably, event organizers have been informed by Pitch, the Superclasico June 11th, 2022 match agent, that contrary to their prior agreement and commitment to do so, Argentina are no longer prepared to travel to Australia for the match against Brazil.”

The ‘ESPN’ further stated that the last time the South American giants played a Superclásico at the MCG five years ago, more than 95,000 fans turned out to watch Argentina legend Lionel Messi take a bow.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) confirmed the news of the cancellation at a presser held on May 11th.

The Argentine federation has made no comment on the issue.

The local Sports Minster Martin Pakula said he was “pretty pissed off” at the decision after almost 60,000 tickets had already been sold – “I think they owe Australian football fans an explanation. I’d be pretty wary of a football association that just breaks contract.”

The cancellation follows a ruling by FIFA on Monday that the two teams would still have to play their South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifying match which was suspended in September shortly after kickoff and never completed because officials complained of Argentina players violating COVID-19 protocols.

FIFA wants the game played this September, two months before the World Cup finals start in Qatar, but both teams, who qualified automatically at the top of their South American group, haven’t committed to playing it.

Juninho Paulista, Coordinator of the Brazilian team, said at the presser, “A statement came from the AFA [the Argentine federation], officially, and they informed us of this decision. We were prepared and with all the logistics ready for this game because we understood that we had to fulfill the contract.”

Organizers now says they are “working with the key stakeholders connected with the match to review all options for the fixture and will provide further updates as quickly as possible.”

Ticket holders would be eligible for refunds with details of the process to be provided shortly, the organizers added.

Brazil will play friendlies against South Korea and Japan in Seoul and Tokyo on June 2nd and June 6th, respectively, and now will seek an African opponent for the June 11th slot.

Brazilian football coach Tite also announced his squad for the friendlies and brought striker Gabriel Jesus back. The Manchester City F.C. (UK) striker, who was a starter for the Seleção Canarinho (Brazil national football team) in the last World Cup, is fighting for a place in Qatar.

The only new name on the list was of 21-year-old Danilo, a Palmeiras (Brazilian professional football club) defensive midfielder.

Brazil will play Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G at the World Cup, which starts on November 21st.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup™ is scheduled to be the 22nd running of the FIFA World Cup™ competition, the quadrennial international men’s football championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar from November 21st to December 18th, 2022.

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