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The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

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An unexpected night of chaos and violence in the Maracana Stadium. What happened?

Source: Argentinian football players protest at Brazilian police force (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Violent brawls occurred between Brazilian and Argentine fans in the Maracana Stadium, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

On November 22, the Brazilian and Argentine national football teams faced each other for the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers. However, during the national anthems before kick-off, the heated tensions between the fans exploded, creating violence all around the stadium. 

The Brazilian police force used batons to face off the Argentine fans in response to the fight and arrested eight people that night.

The Argentine players attempted to defuse the situation by going to where the fight was most fierce in the stadium and talking to the police. At one point, Emiliano Martinez, the goalkeeper of the Argentina national team and English club Aston Villa, jumped and reached for an officer’s baton. Some fans jumped off the stands and into the field to escape the situation. An Argentine fan was seen with blood on their head on live television.

All of the Argentine players walked back to their locker rooms, and the match was delayed for 27 minutes; the Argentina national team’s captain, Lionel Messi, commented that the night was close to turning into a “tragedy.” Several fans were injured, but thankfully, no one had lost their life.

A similar situation was witnessed during the Copa Libertadores Finals on November 4, 2023. The event also took place in the Maracana Stadium, where Brazilian club Fluminense FC faced off against Argentinian team Club Atlético Boca Juniors. The police were also involved in this match, where they attacked Argentine fans using batons in the stands, similar to the night of the 2026 World Cup Qualifier Match.

Several Argentinian players later commented on the repeated repression of Argentinian fans by the Brazilian police force, such as Manchester United centre back writing “This policing is shameful. How is it possible? When will it end? It’s always the same.” on Instagram, and Inter Miami forward, Lionel Messi commenting “by the repression of Argentina fans once again in Brazil. This madness can’t be tolerated and it has to end now.”

While the exact beginning of the fight can not be confirmed, the Argentina–Brazil football rivalry has always been fierce, causing heated tensions between fans. However, what was clearly a mistake was the fact that fans from both sides were able to buy tickets directly next to each other, as ticketing for most football matches segregates fans of each team. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, also known as FIFA, charged the Brazilian Football Confederation for “potential breaches of article 17” of their disciplinary code, which related to security, and the Argentine Football Association for “crowd disturbance” and “delayed kick off.” 

While the actual game was loved by many, the clashes of violence were not. Many fans hoped that the situation between the fans of the two nations would be resolved and that more security measures to isolate the fans should’ve been in place considering the incident from the Copa Libertadores Finals. Fans on social media also criticized the police’s violent response, to which Brazil’s state military force has yet to respond. 

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