The kickoff of Tuesday’s match between Argentina and Brazil was delayed due to an incident in the stands at the iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Play commenced shortly after 7:55 p.m. ET, despite the match being scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Before the match, a group of fans engaged in a fight and was separated by police, prompting Lionel Messi and members of the Argentine national team to approach the stands. Messi and his teammates climbed over a partition to reach the section where police were intervening.
Messi and his teammates first left the area near the stands to go back to the field, but later went to the locker rooms. It’s not clear if Argentina came back inside for the pregame lineup announcement.
The Brazilian players stayed on the pitch, and the Argentine side eventually came back to start the match.
As the broadcast showed the crowds, a substantial police presence was evident both on the field and in the stands.
Stay tuned for more updates as the situation develops.
Argentina vs. Brazil preview
Lionel Messi holds the record for the most goals scored in South American World Cup qualifying.
Messi has scored 31 career goals in CONMEBOL matchups, but he has not yet scored against Brazil.
Messi, the World Cup champion and star in the MLS with Inter Miami, has an opportunity to alter that distinction in Tuesday night’s match between Argentina and Brazil at the iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Argentina is coming off its first loss in almost a year, having fallen 2-0 to Uruguay last Thursday. Additionally, Messi has not scored in his last three matches.
However, Argentina will not underestimate a depleted Brazilian national team. The Brazilians will be without key players Neymar (ACL tear), Vinícius Júnior (hamstring), and Casemiro (hamstring) in Tuesday night’s game.
“They have significant absences, but if you look at the team, they are all top level,” commented Argentine coach Luis Scaloni during a press conference on Monday. “They have great players who are up to the task, and it is Brazil – everyone knows what it means.”
Could Messi and Ronaldo play next year?
The news of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo potentially playing on the same team next year was met with worldwide excitement. However, Inter Miami has contradicted a Tuesday announcement, stating that it will not play in Saudi Arabia.
“Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup. This information is inaccurate,” clarified Inter Miami in a statement.
An announcement was made that Messi and Inter Miami would face Ronaldo and Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia in February.