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Lionel Messi suspended from Argentina’s opening World Cup qualifier

Argentina’s Lionel Messi strokes his beard prior a Copa America Group B soccer match against Qatar at Arena do Gremio, Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (Victor R. Caivano / Associated Press)
Argentina’s Lionel Messi strokes his beard prior a Copa America Group B soccer match against Qatar at Arena do Gremio, Porto Alegre, Brazil, Sunday, June 23, 2019. (Victor R. Caivano / Associated Press)
Associated Press

ASUNCION, Paraguay – Lionel Messi was suspended from Argentina’s first qualifying march for the 2022 World Cup and fined $1,500 by South American soccer’s governing body.

CONMEBOL said its decision Tuesday resulted from Messi’s red card during Argentina’s 2-1 win over Chile on July 6 in the third place match of the Copa America. Messi was ejected in the 37th minute after an altercation with Chile’s Gary Medel, who also received a red card.

South American qualifying starts in March.

The decision does not mention Messi’s attacks against the Copa America organization. Messi said there was corruption in the tournament and that the tournament was set up for Brazil to win. Messi later apologized to CONMEBOL for his comments.

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