Copa America 2021: Brazil march on, Chile face ‘barber’ fine

News and updates from the other continental football tournament taking place right now.

The tournament, postponed from 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, was confirmed to be held in Brazil just two weeks before its start [Sergio Moraes/Reuters]
The tournament, postponed from 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, was confirmed to be held in Brazil just two weeks before its start [Sergio Moraes/Reuters]

Copa America, the world’s oldest football tournament, is the other delayed continental event taking place right now in addition to the Euro 2020.

The tournament, postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, was awarded to Brazil just two weeks before its start.

It faced a great deal of opposition not just due to the rushed decision but also its impact on Brazil which has reported almost 18 million cases of the coronavirus, including more than 501,000 deaths, the second-highest in the world.

What’s happening on the field?

Hosts Brazil have made a perfect start to their title defence, scoring seven goals without conceding in their two matches so far.

They beat Venezuela 3-0 in the tournament opener before thrashing Peru 4-0.

On Sunday, Peru beat Colombia 2-1 thanks to a Yerry Mina own-goal to keep alive its chances of advancing to the knockout stage.

Peru reached the final of the last Copa America but had won just two of their 12 games since.

The result lifts Peru into third place in the five-team Group B with three points from two games, one behind Colombia who have played a game more.

Leaders Brazil have a maximum six points, while Venezuela, who drew 2-2 with Ecuador earlier on Sunday, have two points from three games.

Argentina, after a 1-1 draw with Chile in their opening game, beat Uruguay 1-0 on Friday thanks to a Guido Rodriguez goal to extend their unbeaten run to 15 games.

Martins banned for criticising organisers

Bolivia striker Marcelo Martins has been banned for one game and fined $20,000 by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) after criticising the organisation for hosting the Copa America in the middle of a pandemic.

Martins was one of three Bolivia players who tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of their 3-1 opening loss to Paraguay.

He missed the game and posted some sharp words on social media about CONMEBOL’s last-minute decision to host the tournament in Brazil.

“Thanks for this CONMEBOL,” Martins wrote on Instagram. “All the blame is totally yours. If someone died what are you going to do??? The only thing that’s important to you is MONEY. Is a player’s life worth nothing?”

He took down the comments and apologised but CONMEBOL banned the 34-year-old from Bolivia’s game against Chile.

Since Martins made the comments, two more Bolivia players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Brazil’s Health Ministry said 27 players and officials have tested positive for coronavirus so far.

Chile admits violation of coronavirus protocols

Players from Chile’s squad violated the tournament’s coronavirus protocols after a “barber” visited the players’ hotel in the Brazilian city of Cuiaba.

The Chilean football federation issued a statement on Sunday saying it “recognises the violation of the health bubble of the squad participating at Copa America, with the unauthorised entry of a barber who, despite his negative PCR test, should not have made contact with the players”.

The Chilean federation did not give the number or names of players involved, but said they will be fined.

The protocols imposed for the tournament by CONMEBOL forbid entry of unauthorised people where players are hosted, training or playing. It sets a fine of $15,000 for a first violation and $30,000 for a second.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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