RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil coach Tite on Thursday announced his squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifier matches, leaving out injured star Neymar and noting that defender Renan Lodi wasn’t selected because he hasn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Renan Lodi has jettisoned his opportunity to be called, because he’s unvaccinated,” Tite told reporters. “That was the information we got (from the Brazilian soccer confederation’s medical staff). He lost the opportunity to become a candidate, because he’s not vaccinated.”
The team’s director, Juninho Paulista, noted that Lodi wouldn’t have been able to enter Ecuador, where the team will play on Jan. 27th in Quito. He would also need to enter a five-day quarantine when flying to Brazil ahead of the Feb. 1 match against Paraguay in Belo Horizonte.
Asked whether the decision to exclude Lodi was due to travel restrictions or his failure to get a shot, Tite responded that he views vaccination as “a social responsibility.” He didn’t clarify whether Lodi could be called up for future matches where his vaccination status doesn’t affect travel.
“We respect them, we have our opinion, but we don’t oblige any athlete to get vaccinated,”assistant manager Cesar Sampaio added. But Jorge Pagura, president of the national soccer confederation’s medical comission, said that they “prioritize those who have a full vaccination cycle, in accordance with a worldwide scientific concept.”
The squad also doesn’t include forward Neymar, who is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in late November.
Meanwhile, FIFA has yet to decide on the outcome of Brazil’s suspended game against Argentina in Sao Paulo in early September. The game was stopped after seven minutes due to four England-based Argentina players allegedly breaching coronavirus protocols. Three of the players were on the field at the time.
“In terms of sport, we remained on the pitch and played. We stayed and did the right thing. In legal terms, of the country, we did the right thing,” Tite said. “Now, I’m waiting on FIFA and what its final response will be.”
Squad: Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City) and Weverton (Palmeiras);
Defenders: Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Emerson Royal (Tottenham), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Éder Militão (Real Madrid), Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea);
Midfielders: Bruno Guimarães (Lyon), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Gerson (Olympique de Marseille), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Lucas Paquetá (Lyon) and Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa);
Forwards: Antony (Ajax), Vini Jr (Real Madrid), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Matheus Cunha (Atletico de Madrid), Raphinha (Leeds) and Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo). ___
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports