On Tuesday, the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was delayed by half an hour at Maracana Stadium after police clashed with fans during the playing of the national anthems. Locals and Argentinian fans started fighting, prompting the Brazilian police to charge the visiting contingent, who responded by ripping up and throwing seats at the officers. Fans near the trouble panicked and came onto the pitch to escape the fighting. At least one injured fan was taken from the stadium on a stretcher.
The match between South America’s fiercest footballing rivals eventually started after a delay of about 30 minutes, with five-time World Cup winners Brazil hoping their fans at the sold-out stadium would help them get their campaign back on track after they lost successive qualifiers for the first time in their history. The Argentina team, led by captain Lionel Messi, went over to the terraces to try and calm the situation before leaving the pitch and returning to the dressing room.
Reporting by Fernando Kallas
Writing by Nick Mulvenney
Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Stephen Coates