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Newcastle United official announcement confirms Miguel Almiron travels to South America

2 weeks ago
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Newcastle United have belatedly confirmed that Miguel Almiron has travelled to Paraguay.

Monday afternoon seeing an official club announcement (see below) stating that the player has gone to South America for three World Cup qualifiers, the first of which is this Thursday 7 October (kick-off is midnight in UK time).

Last week Newcastle United previously confirmed five other members of the NUFC first team squad were joining up with their national set ups this month – Ryan Fraser (Scotland), Jamal Lewis (Northern Ireland), Emil Krafth (Sweden), Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) and Fabian Schar (Switzerland).

However, confusion reigned over the Paraguay international, as Miguel Almiron was blocked by Newcastle United from playing for Paraguay in the September World Cup qualifiers.

Along with most other South American players in the Premier League, the NUFC player staying in the UK after a league-wide agreement not to release players.

This was mainly to do with the vast majority of these countries in South America still being on the red list and the UK government unwilling to make returning players exceptions from quarantine.

Paraguay were amongst the countries to then invoke the FIFA rule banning players from playing for their club team, if prevented from playing international football. In the case of Miguel Almiron, that meant having to miss the game at Man Utd. However, at the last minute the South American countries lifted that ban, on the understanding that the UK government would relax their rules for players when it came to the October World Cup qualifiers.

Things had been very quiet ahead of this upcoming international fortnight, though Miguel Almiron had been named in the latest Paraguay squad – but no indication from Newcastle United last week as to whether he would be travelling.

However, on Friday afternoon, BBC Sport brought an update, revealing that there has been a partial relaxation on quarantining by the UK Government…

BBC Sport report – 1 October 2021:

‘Premier League players will be allowed to travel to red-list nations to represent their countries in this month’s World Cup qualifiers – but only if they are fully vaccinated.

Players must adhere to a strict code of conduct regarding transport, close contacts, testing and bubbles.

They will have to quarantine in “bespoke facilities” for 10 days upon their arrival back in the UK.

They will be permitted to leave quarantine once a day to train or play.

“We have worked closely with football authorities to achieve an outcome that balances the interests of both club and country while maintaining the highest levels of public health and safety,” said a government spokesperson.

“Our best defence against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to fulfil their international duties in the safest, most practical way possible, while allowing them to train and play with their clubs as early as possible upon their return.”

The UK government has relaxed Covid-19 regulations after the problems it caused during the September international break.

On that occasion, the Premier League decided not to release players, prompting a clash with football’s world governing body Fifa, which had demanded individuals be allowed to travel and play.’

Paraguay have three World Cup qualifiers in October:

Paraguay v Argentina – Thursday 7 October

Chile v Paraguay –  Sunday 10 October

Bolivia v Paraguay – Thursday 14 October

All three countries that are hosting this trio of games are currently still on the UK government’s red list, so there is no doubt that Miguel Almiron will fall into that category of now having to do this slightly more relaxed quarantine when returning from this international duty.

However, in terms of the Newcastle match at home to Tottenham on Sunday 17 October, regardless of any quarantine, Miguel Almiron would surely be struggling to be available to start, if going on international duty. The final game will finish at around 11pm (UK time) on Thursday 14 October and then setting off sometime on Friday (15 October) from Bolivia, by the time he reaches Newcastle it will be surely well into Saturday at the earliest and doubtful if in any condition to take part in that Spurs game on the Sunday, certainly you wouldn’t think as a starter.

In the absence of the Newcastle player and others missing, Paraguay had a near disastrous September round of matches.

Losing 2-0 to Ecuador and drawing 1-1 with Colombia, saw both of those countries end up above Paraguay in the qualifying table as things now stand. Complete disaster was only avoided when Paraguay managed a narrow 2-1 win over bottom of the table Venezuela.

This is how the South American World Cup qualifying group now looks ahead of the October games.

South America World Cup Qualifying Group 28 September 2021The top four qualify automatically for Qatar whilst the fifth goes into a play-off. As you can see, due to those September results, Paraguay have dropped out of the qualifying spots.

Anything from the Argentina match would be a bonus but as you can see, Paraguay then play eight placed Chile and ninth placed Bolivia in what are surely must win games if they are to stand any chance of automatic qualification.

So Miguel Almiron set to spend a considerable amount of time away from his family in these next six or seven weeks, with November internationals (Paraguay play Colombia and Chile) to quickly follow these October ones.

Amiron away from home and over in South America before returning and spending ten days quarantining in ‘bespoke facilities’ and only allowed out once a day to either train or play, then repeating all of that next month.

Newcastle United Announcement – Monday 4 October 2021:

‘Miguel Almirón has been named in the Paraguay squad for their World Cup qualifying triple-header this month.

La Albirroja face three tough-looking fixtures in October, with a home game against Argentina kicking things off in the South American group on Friday, 8th October. Kick-off is set for midnight BST at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion.

After facing Lionel Messi’s men, Almirón could then feature against Chile on Monday, 11th October, with kick-off in that away game set for 1am BST at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in Santiago de Chile.

And Eduardo Berizzo’s side round off a hectic round of fixtures by heading to La Paz to take on Bolivia at the Estadio Hernando Siles on Thursday, 14th October (kick-off 9pm BST).

Paraguay currently sit sixth in the South American table, with two wins and five draws from their nine outings so far.’

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