Violent clashes between visiting fans and police marred the World Cup qualifying match between Argentina and Brazil at the historic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. It led Lionel Messi to accuse the police in Brazil of brutality against the visiting Argentine fans.
The violence started before the national anthems were sung as fans started clashing in one part of the stadium. It prompted the Brazilian police to beat up the visiting fans with sticks drawn. Argentine spectators responded by tearing seats and throwing them at the police while other fans rushed onto the ground to escape being beaten.
One Argentine could be seen lying on the ground with blood on his face before he was stretchered off. Messi and other Argentine players entered the stands to pacify the spectators but had to eventually return to their dressing room.
Messi said that the Brazilian police were beating up the Argentine spectators which included the families and friends of players. He said they left the pitch in the hope that the situation would come under control. He said he feared that a tragedy was imminent.
Brazil Is Staring At Elimination After Just 7 Points From 6 Games
He said that the spectators, which included women and children, were clueless and the Argentine team was more concerned about their safety than about the game itself. Earlier this month there were violent clashes between fans of Brazil’s Fluminense and Argentina’s Boca Juniors during the Copa Libertadores final.
Argentina has a head start on Brazil on their way to qualifying in CONMEBOL having picked up 15 points after 6 games. Brazil has lost 3 games in a row. 6 out of the 10 teams make it to the 2026 World Cup from the expanded field.
The Selecao continues to struggle through the qualifiers having picked up just 7 points from 6 games. Marquinhos joined the list of injured which includes Neymar Jr and Vinícius Jr. Joelinton picked up a red card.