Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in its first-ever home World Cup qualification match

Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in its first-ever home World Cup qualification match

On a night of violence and pandemonium at the legendary Maracan stadium, Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 in its first-ever home World Cup qualification match.

Argentina’s historic three points were clinched by defender Nicolas Otamendi’s stunning header on 63 minutes, condemning Brazil to a third straight qualification defeat for the first time in the Seleço’s history.
However, the game was marred by spectator violence, which delayed the start of the World Cup qualifier.

Fighting erupted during the national anthems between two groups of fans seated together at one end of the stadium, prompting Brazilian police to intervene, but their heavy-handed approach with the Argentine fans enraged Lionel Messi and the rest of the national team.

The Inter Miami forward brought his colleagues up to the stand where the brawl was taking place and called for calm with both the police and Argentina fans, some of whom were seen hurling ripped out chairs at security personnel.

Some images show sobbing children in the stands, and one lady is seen holding a toddler in her arms as she tries to climb over the seats and away from the mayhem.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez rushed up onto the stand and grabbed the arm of a police officer to prevent him from using his baton on an Argentina supporter.

Messi then led the squad off the field and into the locker room, where they remained for 10 minutes. The game finally began 30 minutes late.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) stated on its website that mixed supporters are “standard” at matches organised by FIFA, football’s world governing body, and CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body.

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“This is not a model invented or imposed by the CBF,” the statement added. The CBF said 1,050 private security guards and 700 military police officers “worked to secure the match.”

“Therefore, the CBF reaffirms that the action, security and operation plan for the match were strictly followed, as approved by the RJ Military Police and other authorities.”

Brazil’s state military police said in a statement that its officers were “involved in a scuffle among fans,” adding that eight people were arrested, including a woman for allegedly racially abusing a Maracanã worker.

CONMEBOL and the Argentine football federation didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s for comment.

“The truth is that this group continues to achieve historic things, once again,” Messi told reporters after the match, per Reuters. “Obviously, at the beginning it was bad because we saw how they were beating people.

“You think about the family, the people who are there, who don’t know what’s going on and we are more concerned about that than playing a match. At that point the match was secondary.

“After that, winning this game like this I think is one of the most important wins that this group has achieved. It is something very nice to be able to win here in Brazil, after how strong they have been at home throughout their history.”

In a further unexpected twist at the very end of the night, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni placed doubt over his position as the national team head coach.

“I need to think a lot about what I’m going to do,” Scaolini told reporters. “It’s not goodbye or anything else, but I need to think because the bar is very high. It’s complicated to continue.

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“It’s difficult to keep winning and these guys make it difficult. It’s time to think this time, I will tell the president, I will tell the players. This team needs a coach who has all the energy possible.”

Argentina is on top of World Cup qualification, while Brazil has dropped to sixth position and has not won in four matches under temporary head coach Fernando Diniz, who recently led Fluminense to Copa Libertadores triumph.The South American World Cup qualification system consists of 18 rounds, with the top six teams advancing to the 2026 event and the seventh-placed country entering the FIFA play-off competition, which will include six countries from other continents.

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