FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in World Cup qualifying after a delayed start

Nicolás Otamendi scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Argentina after a fight between fans that delayed the start of the game.

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Abishek Goswami
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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in World Cup qualifying after a delayed start

Otamendi celebrating with De Paul after the goal Getty Images

It was Brazil's third consecutive loss in the round-robin tournament, another negative mark for new coach Fernando Diniz. Messi left the pitch in the 78th minute. Dozens of children arrived at the Maracana wearing the shirts of Barcelona, the star's previous club, and Inter Miami.

The Argentine star wasn't able to score against the Brazilians in the World Cup qualifier match. Two years ago, Ángel di Maria scored the only goal in an empty Maracana to give his team the Copa America title.

The aggression between fans was reflected on the field in the first 20 minutes of the clash. Brazil wasted opportunities, with Raphinha's free kick in the 38th minute and Cristian Romero saving Argentina near the goal line six minutes later after a crossed shot by Gabriel Martinelli.

Argentina's goal in the 63rd with a header by Otamendi was one of the few chances Argentina created. Teenager Endrick didn't make much difference after he went on in the 72nd.

In the 81st, midfielder Joelinton, who just stepped in as a substitute for Brazil, was sent off after pushing Rodrigo de Paul. Argentina leads the 10-team South American qualifying competition with 15 points from six matches, followed by Uruguay on 13 and Colombia. Brazil could end the year in sixth position, with seven points.

The 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada will include 48 teams, meaning direct entry for the top six teams from South America.

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