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Argentina suffer setback ahead Brazil opener after Covid case

Four members of Argentina's SheBelieves Cup squad have been sidelined by Covid-19 protocols just hours before their opening game against Brazil in Orlando

Four members of Argentina’s squad for the SheBelieves Cup international women’s football tournament have been ruled out of Thursday’s opener against Brazil because of Covid-19 protocols, a statement said.

The United States Soccer Federation said one Argentina player had tested positive upon arrival in Florida for the four-team event which also includes the USA and Canada. She has been ruled out of the tournament.

Another player was placed in isolation after “inconsistent” test results upon arrival. She was ruled ineligible for Thursday’s opener against Brazil along with two other players with whom she had been in contact.

All three players will have further testing to determine their eligibility for remaining matches in the round-robin tournament scheduled for February 21 and 24, the statement said.

“All other members of the Argentina delegation – players and staff – tested negative on arrival and in multiple tests during their pre-camp prior to traveling to Orlando,” US Soccer said.

“In addition, all members of the USA, Brazil and Canada delegations – players and staff – have tested negative in multiple tests after arrival in Orlando.”

The announcement came just hours before Argentina’s game against South American rivals Brazil in Orlando. The United States face Canada later Thursday in a double-header at the same venue.

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Argentina had replaced Japan in the tournament at short notice after the Japanese withdrew last month because of the Covid-19 situation in Japan.

Although Florida has been one of the worst-hit US states during the pandemic, the region has continued to host high-profile sporting events, including the finale to last year’s NBA season, Major League’s Soccer’s restart tournament and the Super Bowl earlier this month.

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