Somali Magazine – Argentina defeated South American rivals Brazil 1-0 in a violent 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday, when Brazilian police battled with Argentina fans in the stands.
The match at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium was delayed for 30 minutes due to pre-match crowd disturbances in which police intervened to protect team fans.
Lionel Messi and his teammates in Argentina attempted to calm the tension before returning to the locker room at Maracana.
While Argentina fans were being beaten, Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez approached the stands and attempted to steal a baton from the hand of a Brazilian police officer.
Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0, with Benfica defender Nicolas Otamendi scoring the game-winning header in the second half.
Brazil were reduced to ten players in the 81st minute as Joelinton was sent off for pushing Rodrigo de Paul.
“It was bad because we saw how they were beating people,” he claimed.
“We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, it could have ended in tragedy,” the 36-year-old forward continued.
“You think about the families, the people who are there, who don’t know what’s going on and we were more concerned about that than playing a match that, at that point, was of secondary importance,” he told reporters.
Argentina leads the South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying table with 15 points after six games.
Meanwhile, World Cup champions Brazil, which has lost three consecutive games, is in sixth place, eight points behind the leaders.
The top six teams will be guaranteed a place in the 2026 World Cup finals, which will be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The inter-confederation playoffs will be played by the seventh team in the CONMEBOL qualification table.