A football match between Brazil and Argentina is always more than just a simple game. It’s a rivalry of passion, aggression, and emotion for their team. However sometimes when these emotions get out of control, it gives rise to unsporting moments within the match. The Maracanã stadium in Brazil witnessed something similar in the recent game of World Cup Qualifiers between Brazil and Argentina.
The game between Brazil and Argentina saw a 30-minute delay in kick-off as a massive brawl broke out in the stadium among the fans. The tension broke out when the Brazilian supporters allegedly started booing as the Argentina National Anthem was being played. As a result, a massive brawl broke out among the rival fan bases in the stand.
It forced the Brazilian police to intervene. But that only made matters worse. It was reported that the Brazilian police targeted the Argentine fans and they were on the receiving end of brutal treatment. They used batons to disperse the group of Argentine fans, creating a volatile atmosphere.
Argentina supporters were furious with how the local police were treating them and retaliated by ripping up chairs and throwing them at security. It caused extreme mayhem within the stands causing several injuries. One Argentina fan was reported with a bloodied face before being taken from the stadium on a stretcher.
Lionel Messi and his teammates had to rush over to the stands and attempt to intervene but to no effect. The Argentine captain was then seen having a discussion with the match officials. Realizing the gravity of the situation and concerned for their safety, Lionel Messi was seen retreating to the locker room along with his teammates.
As per reports, Messi expressed their reluctance to play amid the chaos. “We’re not playing, we’re leaving,”
Some Argentine players even tried to intervene directly. A video has gone viral on social media since then showing the Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez trying to enter the stands. He was also seen trying to grab a baton from the police, who was reportedly hitting the Argentine fans.
The Argentine goalkeeper also raced to one of the rails in front of the Argentinian fans to ask the police to stop the violence before he was called into the dressing room by one of his Argentine teammates.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian team stayed on the pitch amidst this confusion. The Brazilian captain, Marquinhos, was seen interacting with Messi and the Argentinian players as he tried to calm the situation.
However, the Argentina team went back to their dugout and eventually returned back onto the pitch after the tension was subdued. This caused a 30-minute delay to the kick-off. As the match began, dozens of policemen surrounded Argentina fans as they cheered, and even more, security faced them on the pitch.
This isn’t the first time a clash between the South American giants has seen major disturbances. Notably, while they were both playing the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, the match was abandoned due to alleged breaches of COVID-19 protocol. More recently, there were violent clashes between fans of Argentina’s Boca Juniors and Brazil’s Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the Copa Libertadores final earlier this month.
In a pitchside interview after the match, the Albiceleste skipper responded: “It was bad because we saw how they were beating people … The police, as it already happened in the Libertadores final, were once again repressing the people with sticks, there were players who had families over there,”
“They are more focused on that than on playing the game”.
“We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, it could have ended in tragedy.”
The rivalry was far from over after the full-time whistle as Messi also took to Instagram to call out the “crazy” violence.
Despite all the confusion ahead of the feisty encounter, Argentina saw out a narrow 1-0 victory over their rivals. Lionel Scaloni’s side therefore cemented their place at the top of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table, pushing Brazil to a dismal sixth-place standing. Things are definitely not looking good for Brazil, both on and off the pitch.