By Victor Kanayo
Violence erupted when Argentina and Brazil engaged each other in their 2026 World Cup qualifier.
Skysports report indicates that Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martinez tried to intervene as police clashed with Argentina fans before they dealt Brazil a historic defeat at the Maracana stadium.
The longstanding sporting rivalry between two of the most successful teams in world football hit fever pitch after the Brazilian police charged Argentinian fans in response to fighting in the stands during the national anthems.
Argentina went over to the terraces to try and calm the situation. During the clashes, Messi appealed for the clashes to stop and Martinez was filmed reaching into the crowd to try to stop a police officer using a baton. The Argentina players then left the pitch and returned to the dressing room for more than 10 minutes.
The match – delayed by 30 minutes – started in a tumult of noise as local fans roared their support of the five-times world champions, who were looking to get their campaign back on track after losing successive qualifiers for the first time.
However, Nicolas Otamendi scored with a towering header to give Argentina a 1-0 victory – the first time ever Brazil had lost a home World Cup qualifier.
Brazil stand sixth in the South America World Cup qualifying standings, eight points behind leaders Argentina and in the last spot that guarantees a berth at the 2026 finals.