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Copa America descending into chaos ahead of Miguel Almiron kicking off first match

1 month ago
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Miguel Almiron has already had a busy summer but it has barely started for him…

The Newcastle United star went straight from finishing off the season with Newcastle United, to playing World Cup qualifiers for Paraguay.

Then sandwiched in between a 0-0 draw away against Uruguay and 2-0 home defeat to Brazil, Almiron’s partner gave birth to their first child.

Now Miguel Almiron moves on to the Copa America.

The 2021 Copa America was meant to be co-hosted by Colombia and Argentina this summer but, after due to political unrest in Colombia and Covid cases surging in Argentina, the competition organisers moved the tournament to Brazil…

The country that has arguably handled the virus worse than any other in the world, already around half a million having lost their lives to Covid in Brazil, with massive political unrest against the President, with the mishandling of the virus top of the agenda.

Even the Brazil squad thought it was ridiculous that their country was now hosting the 2021 Copa America, with claims that they were going to boycott the competition.

In the end a joint statement from the Brazil squad read: “We are against [Brazil] hosting the Copa América but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team.”

Hosts Brazil kick off the tournament on Sunday but already it is descending into predictable further chaos before a ball has been kicked.

Their first game opponents Venezuela have had 14 positive cases and have had 14 players flown in as replacements.

As for Miguel Almiron, his packed international schedule continues on Monday with Paraguay’s first Copa America group game.

If the tournament is played to its conclusion and Paraguay reach the final, it would mean nine international matches in a five week spell for Miguel Almiron if he is selected, tomorrow being the third of nine after the two World Cup qualifiers. With four Copa America group games, then quarter-finals (four from five qualify for them from each group), then semis and final.

Paraguay’s matches against Bolivia (14 June), Argentina (21 June), Chile (24 June) and Uruguay (28 June). Though for us in the UK being four hours ahead of Brazil, all four games are a day later and all played 1am UK time, all matches can be seen live via the BBC i-player and BBC Sport website.

Paraguay have Bolivia first game (Tuesday 1am UK time) and they (Bolivia) have already been hit by four positive virus cases.

I wouldn’t fancy betting on this competition completing this summer…

Copa America 2021 has ten countries participating, split into two groups of five, then because the format sees the top four in each of the five team groups progress to the quarter-finals, a lot of matches to eliminate just two of the ten countries!

So the odds are highly stacked on the Newcastle player having a quarter-final on either the 2nd or 3rd of July.

If progressing from there, it would then be a semi-final on the 5th or 6th of July, before eventually a possible third place play-off on 9 July or the final on 10 July.

So, Miguel Almiron could be involved in as many as nine matches for Paraguay this summer, with six matches for sure and almost guaranteed a seventh, with then the possible semi and final.

A lot has been said about Premier League players looking forward to more of a proper break this summer after the shorter than usual gap between league seasons in 2020. However, that most definitely isn’t looking the case for Miguel Almiron.

Brazil is currently on the UK’s red list for travel, so I’m not sure whether this will further complicate Almiron’s summer when returning, or whether he gets an exemption due to it being elite sport.

The Premier League kicks off on the weekend of Saturday 14 August and with Newcastle United’s squad set to return for pre-season on Monday 5 July, clearly Miguel Almiron and those involved in Euro 2020 won’t be back for then and will get an extended period for rest.

Newcastle are set to have training camps in July in both Portugal and a repeat of last summer’s one near York, so it remains to be seen whether NUFC’s small group of internationals will be back in time for those.

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