WC qualifying rivals' leg up over Brazil

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Brazil were missing nine players from the Premier League for their first day of training in the lead-up to three World Cup qualifiers in South America.

Argentina and Colombia managed to get their England-based players into camp while Paraguay were pressuring FIFA to get their top striker Miguel Almiron from Newcastle United in time for Thursday's match against Ecuador.

Premier League clubs have been reluctant to send players to South American nations that are red-listed by the British government because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any players who travel and then return to Britain will have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine and have little chance of training.

But the South American national team rivals seemed to receive different treatment from English clubs.

Brazil could only assemble 22 players in Sao Paulo for matches against Chile, Argentina and Peru.

Argentina, meanwhile, had almost all 30 members of their squad - including four from England - available for their qualifier against Venezuela on Thursday.

Brazil and Argentina face off on Sunday in a rematch of last month's Copa America final, which ended the Albiceleste's 28-year title drought in a 1-0 win.

Brazil coach Tite selected a larger-than-normal 45-man squad in case he couldn't count on the nine England-based players who have been prevented from travelling.

Already in Brazil were players from across Europe and their home-based contingent.

Uruguay will not count on Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani for their three qualifying games.

Chile won't be able to bring striker Ben Brereton from Blackburn.

Meanwhile, Argentina could count on almost a full squad in Caracas for matches against Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia.

The Argentinians have agreed with the clubs in England the players would only be involved in the first two World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil and then return before the third.

The same is the case for Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez, who will play against Bolivia and Paraguay.

Paris Saint-Germain players were expected to arrive in South America on Tuesday; Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria for Argentina with Neymar and Marquinhos for Brazil.

FIFA has told CONMEBOL there will be consequences for clubs that don't release players as required, which could mean disciplinary action.

On Sunday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against a complaint by the Spanish league against the triple-header of fixtures in South American qualifiers, which would end too close to the resumption of their competition.

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