Brazil 0-1 Argentina: Pictures and talking points from chaotic Superclasico de las Americas

  • Argentina win World Cup qualifier at home of greatest rivals
  • Brazil's miserable runs goes on as lengthy record is snapped by reigning world champions
  • Nicolas Otamendi with game's only goal in the second half

Otamendi scored the winner for Argentina
Otamendi scored the winner for Argentina / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Argentina earned a historic 1-0 win at bitter rivals Brazil on Tuesday night in a typically spicy Superclasico de las Americas.

Nicolas Otamendi scored the only goal at the Estadio Maracana to keep the reigning world champions at the top of CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying standings, with the Selecao marooned down in sixth after picking up only seven points from the 18 available to them so far.

It was, obviously, another action-packed evening down in Rio de Janeiro. Here are the main talking points from a game most people missed out on in the UK to get some shut-eye.

Game delayed due to crowd trouble

Brazil v Argentina - FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier
There were unsavoury scenes pre-match / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Kick-off was delayed by half an hour due to unrest among fans at the Maracana. Fighting started in the stands during the playing of the national anthems, and Brazilian police were seen charging at travelling Argentina supporters, who responded by tearing up seats and hurling them back at the advancing officers.

Fans escaped onto the pitch to avoid confrontation, while some sustained bloody injuries and had to leave the stadium to receive further medical attention.

The Argentina team went over to the away end to try and calm the situation down, with Albiceleste captain Lionel Messi and Brazil skipper Marquinhos condemning the scenes.

"It was bad because we saw how they were beating people," Messi said. "The police, as happened in the Libertadores final, were once again repressing the people with night sticks.

"We went to the locker room because it was the best way to calm everything down, it could have ended in tragedy.

"You think about the families, the people who are there, who don't know what's going on and we were more concerned about that than playing a match that, at that point, was of secondary importance."

Marquinhos added: "We were worried about the families, women and children, that we were seeing in panic up there in the stands.

"Down on the pitch it was hard for us to understand what was going on, it was a very scary situation."

Brazil's remarkable run comes to an end

Fernando Diniz, Joelinton
Joelinton received his marching orders / Wagner Meier/GettyImages

For the first time in their history, Brazil lost a World Cup qualifier on home soil.

It was a forgettable evening all-round for the Selecao, who were unable to avenge their 2021 Copa America final defeat to Argentina and were handed a reminder of their greatest rivals' continued superiority.

Fernando Diniz's interim spell in charge of Brazil has been rather appalling, picking up two wins in his six games at the helm.

Towards the end of a tempestuous night, Joelinton was shown a red card for an off-the-ball shove on Rodrigo De Paul. It was an extremely harsh call but he's gotten away with far worse at club level. I'm sure Brazilians will definitely be able to reconcile themselves with that.

Nicolas Otamendi gets his flowers

The man of the hour / DANIEL RAMALHO/GettyImages

With 63 minutes on the clock, Nicolas Otamendi towered high over Gabriel Magalhaes (more on him later) to thump home Giovani Lo Celso's teasing corner.

In doing so, Otamendi kind-of sort-of capped a year of redemption in an Argentina shirt. Sure, he played a major part in their World Cup win, but he also gave everyone back home simultaneous chest pains when he conceded that daft penalty in the final. How hard is it just to keep your cool for ten more minutes, Nicolas?

But now it's easier to appreciate Otamendi, especially since he's effectively already climbed the mountain with his country. 108 caps is no joke for a contending nation - he played at the 2010 World Cup, if you forgot.

Why Lionel Messi thinks Cristian Romero is the best defender in the world

Emerson Royal, Cristian Romero
Spurs-on-Spurs action / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

Alongside Otamendi is the equally chaotic, yet paradoxically calming, Cristian Romero, who last month was hailed by Messi as the best defender in the world.

Now, be honest with yourself - do you really think Messi has been tuning into Tottenham Hotspur games for the last two years? Of course not, his only experiences watching Romero are with Argentina.

That makes his opinion far more palatable. Romero has been unbelievable for his national team and was instrumental in their Copa America and World Cup triumphs. If he had a smidgen more common sense at club level, then yeah, he could be the best in the world. Big 'if', though.

Gabriel Martinelli the odd one out among Arsenal's Brazil contingent

Gabriel Martinelli, Rodrigo De Paul
Martinelli impressed for Brazil / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

In the absence of Vinicius Junior, Gabriel Martinelli was given a chance to prove his worth as Brazil's starting left winger.

Though he squandered their biggest chance of the evening, the 22-year-old came away to rave reviews and with his head held high. The chaos factor he displays in the Premier League indeed translates to the international game. He'll be an extremely useful player for Brazil for years to come.

The same is not as easily said for club-mates and namesakes Magalhaes and Jesus. The former was toppled by Otamendi for Argentina's winner, the latter extending his barren run of one goal in his last 29 Brazil games (no wonder those guys love Richarlison so much).

Maybe that's good news in the long run for Arsenal fans. Maybe there'll be fewer miles on their key players' legs. Not so much a consolation for Brazil, mind.

Changing of the guard for both nations?

Lionel Scaloni
Will Scaloni step aside? / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

The Diniz era will soon be over for Brazil, and they'll be hoping Carlo Ancelotti is the one on his way down to South America.

But the surprise news of the evening came in the form of Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni admitting he could step down from his role in the near future.

"Argentina needs a coach who has all the energy possible and who is well...I need to stop the ball and start thinking, I have a lot of things to think about during this time," Scaloni said in a press conference in which he fielded no questions.

"These players have given a lot to the coaching staff and I need to think a lot about what I'm going to do. It's not goodbye or anything, but I need to think because the bar is very high and it's complicated to keep going and it's complicated to keep winning.

"These guys are making it difficult, so I need to think about it for a while. I will talk to the FA president and the players afterwards."