Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier delayed after fans brawl in stands

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Fans brawled at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro before Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina.

The melee caused a 27-minute delay to the start of the game that featured the defending World Cup champions.

Police used batons to break up the crowd, as several members of the Argentinian team asked fans to stop the violence.

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The defending champs headed into the locker room where they told Brazil officials they would not come back out until the situation was calm – they were inside for 22 minutes before warming up again and beginning the game.

Parts of seating were being thrown and hit some spectators behind one of the goals. At least one fan left the stadium bleeding from his head.

The crowd was perhaps rowdier than usual as Lionel Messi was in the building. Before the encounter, many Brazil fans warmed up to the Argentine star, with dozens of children wearing Messi jerseys from his previous club, Barcelona, and Inter Miami. However, he was mostly jeered after the ruckus.

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It was a sold-out crowd with over 69,000 fans in attendance.

Many expected Brazil and Argentina to face off in the World Cup last year in Qatar, but the former was upset by Croatia in the quarterfinals, while Argentina did their part to move onto the semis, and eventually win it all. The title was the first of Messi’s illustrious career, and perhaps at that point the only blemish on his incredible resume.

The 2026 World Cup will take place in North America, with the final likely being in either Dallas’ AT&T Stadium or MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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