Miguel Almiron changes direction to Brazil this summer
Miguel Almiron is set for a busy summer, as well as his wife due to give birth to their first child, the Newcastle player has a packed international schedule.
Having joined up with Paraguay, Almiron and his teammates have World Cup qualifiers away against Uruguay on Thursday 3 June and then home to Brazil on Wednesday 9 June.
The ten South America countries play each other home and away, with the top four automatically qualifying for the 2022 finals in Qatar, whilst the fifth placed country go into a play-off.
After each playing four of the eighteen games, Paraguay are currently well placed in fourth, ahead of fifth positioned Uruguay on goal difference. So a win in that 3 June match for Miguel Almiron and Paraguay would be a massive boost, ahead of playing top of the table Brazil at home.
After the two World Cup qualifiers, things are set to get even busier, with matches against Bolivia (14 June), Argentina (21 June), Chile (24 June) and Uruguay (27 June).
These are group games as part of Copa America 2021 but things have got complicated.
Co-hosts Colombia had to be ruled out of hosting due to political demonstrations.
Now the remaining co-host, Argentina, have also had to drop out, due to a worsening of the virus situation.
With games now less than two weeks away, a new host country has been announced.
All games set to be played in Brazil now.
The irony of this shift is enormous, considering the fact that arguably no country has dealt with the virus worse than Brazil. Indeed, the country is now having massive demonstrations against President Bolsonaro, with many wanting him impeached. He has continually dismissed how serious the virus is and acted slowly in agreeing to mass vaccination programmes, leading to massive numbers of cases and deaths, right up there with the very worst statistics in the world.
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.
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.
This summer’s Copa America was set to have the BBC showing all matches live and it appears they will still do so, despite the move to Brazil.
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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