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Brazil, Argentina to play in Australia ahead of World Cup

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Argentina and Brazil will play a June 11 friendly in Australia and officials from both teams will be hoping there is a proper conclusion this time.

The last time the teams met – in a World Cup qualifying match last September in Sao Paulo – the game was halted after only a few minutes after Brazilian health authorities walked onto the field during play as part of an effort to deport four Argentine players accused of violating coronavirus quarantine regulations.

Both teams have qualified for the World Cup in Qatar, and the suspended match has not been replayed.

Yesterday, the Victoria state government confirmed the ‘Superclasico’ will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, five years after 95,000 fans packed the venue to watch a friendly between the South American football teams.

“To have two of the most successful football teams in the world return to the MCG to continue their long-standing rivalry reinforces our position as one of the world’s great sporting cities and Australia’s event capital,” Victoria’s Sports Minister Martin Pakula said.

The Melbourne match could provide Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazil superstar Neymar with an opportunity for pre-World Cup action, although there is no guarantee those players will be on the rosters for the trip to Australia.

The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 21.