Argentina wins 1-0 against Brazil in World Cup qualifier delayed by crowd disturbances
South American soccer’s “two mountain ranges,” Argentina and Brazil, held on for a one-goal victory in their 2026 North and Central American World Cup qualifier that was delayed by crowd disruptions.
The Maracanã main stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was scheduled to host the sixth match of the South American qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.
However, kickoff was delayed by 27 minutes after violence broke out in the overlapping sections of the stadium during the pre-match national anthems.
Fans wearing both jerseys clashed, some vandalized chairs and other items, and chaos ensued.
Police were called into the stands when things didn’t calm down, and players from both teams approached the stands to ask for restraint.
It was unclear whether the game would go ahead, as police officers were seen swinging batons and striking spectators, prompting Lionel Messi and other Argentine players to leave the field and enter the locker room.
More than 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, the referees, match officials, and others began to talk, and as time passed and the stadium calmed down a bit, the Argentine players returned to the pitch and the game got underway at 9:57.
After the start of the match, it was still a chaotic affair in the early stages, with frequent fouls disrupting the flow of play.
In the fifth minute, Argentine midfielder Rodrigo Depaul was hit in the face by the arm of Brazilian forward Gabriel Jezus, causing a nosebleed. Jezus received a warning.
Argentina, the 2022 World Cup champions and current FIFA No. 1, and FIFA No. 3 Brazil, which has lost key players like Neymar and Vinicius Junior to injury, played a goalless first half.
In the second half, Argentina opened the scoring in the 18th minute as the game became more focused.
Giovanni Rosselso’s left-footed corner kick was headed home by veteran defender Nicolas Otamendi to open the scoring.
Otamendi, who has represented Argentina at senior level since 2009, has scored six goals in 108 A-match appearances, two of which have come in World Cup qualifying finals, including last month’s 1-0 Argentine victory over Paraguay.
A desperate Brazil were unable to turn the tide when second-half substitute Joelintong was sent off for a rough foul in the 36th minute, with some disappointed fans leaving the stadium early.
Argentina maintained its lead at the top of the standings (15 points) after overcoming the shock of suffering its first defeat of the tournament with a 0-2 loss in its fifth game against Uruguay.
Brazil, which lost its third straight qualifying game, dropped to sixth place (8 points), behind Ecuador (7 points), which beat Chile 1-0 earlier in the day.
Brazil, which had previously been unbeaten in World Cup qualifying home games with 51 wins and 13 draws, suffered its first-ever home loss in World Cup qualifying after an unsavory incident in Maracanã, the “holy city” of soccer in the country.
The World Cup South American Qualifiers will feature 10 nations in a home-and-away pool format with a total of 18 matches per team to settle the standings. Sixth place qualifies for the main tournament, while seventh qualifies for the intercontinental playoffs.
Uruguay, who defeated Bolivia 3-0 on Sunday, are in second place (13 points), followed by Colombia, who beat Paraguay 1-0, in third (12 points). Venezuela, which tied Peru 1-1, is fourth (9 points).
Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay (5 points), Chile (5 points), Bolivia (3 points), and Peru (2 points) follow. 슬롯