Brazil's latest FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier game against rivals Argentina witnessed a late start after fights broke out between fans and police on Tuesday, November 21. The match was delayed by 30 minutes as Lionel Messi led his team back to the dressing room till things got back to normal.
Fans clashing each other between historic football derbies is a part of the game but things turned ugly when Brazil police used force to repress Argentina fans. Few were reported injured and were stretchered off to the hospital in Rio de Janeiro. Police used batons to take control of the situation which stunned the Argentine footballers walking back to the dressing room.
A game resumed after clashes were cooled down without players' presence at the Maracana. Argentina recorded a famous 0-1 win after Nicolas Otamendi's second-half goal and jumped to the top spot in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers CONMEBOL. Newcastle United midfielder Joelinton saw a late red card for his challenge on De Paul.
Argentina have recorded five wins in six qualifiers game while Brazil struggle in the sixth position with just two wins from their opening six matches.
"We saw how they (police) were hitting people and many players had family members in that area. We couldn't focused on playing the game," Messi said after the game. "This also happened here in the Copa Libertadores. The Brazilian police again repressing the people."
"I think we did that to calm things down a bit. There could have been a disaster. When everything calmed down we decided to ask how everyone was, to find out and then we went out. This team continues to make history. Great victory at the Maracana although it will be marked by the repression of Argentina fans once again in Brazil. This madness can't be tolerated, and it has to end now!!" Messi added.