ARGENTINA fans clashed with their Mexican counterparts in a fan zone in Qatar after supporters filmed themselves chanting “f*** Messi”.
Qatari authorities didn’t appear to be present in the footage, which raises concerns ahead of the weekend’s game, with 80,000 fans set to descend on the Lusail Stadium.
Several people are believed to have suffered minor injuries in the scrap which took place in one of FIFA’s dedicated fan zones, designed for World Cup supporters from different nations to watch their teams together.
The ugly scenes came just a day after Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia 2-1, in one of the biggest World Cup shocks of all time.
Lionel Messi‘s team were one of the pre-tournament favourites, and seemed to be on their way to a routine opening victory when the PSG forward put them ahead from the spot.
But the Saudis turned the game around with second-half strikes from Salah Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari, making Saturday’s game with Mexico all the more critical.
A defeat for either side would leave them on the brink of elimination.
And the tensions were clearly on display at the Al Bidda Park, after a group of Mexican supporters filmed themselves chanting “f*** Messi”.
Video posted on Twitter shows groups of supporters clashing, with several launching kicks and punches at their rivals.
Mexican journalist Omar Nino who was at the scene reported that several fans required treatment for minor injuries.
It is the worst reported crowd trouble at the Qatar tournament so far, after a largely peaceful World Cup.
Saudi fans have joined in the mockery of Argentina and the six-time Ballon d’Or winner since their shock victory.
A group of fans were filmed performing the iconic “Siuuu” celebration of Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo following the game, although on this occasion, the Argentina fans did not react.
And another Saudi supporter went viral after interrupting a Korean TV reporter outside the stadium to ask: “Excuse me, where is Messi?”
Another supporter gets involved and asks: “Can I ask you a question? Ask all the 88,000, where is Messi?”
The 35-year-old has admitted earlier this year that Qatar is likely to be his final World Cup as a player.
Argentina’s opening defeat was all the more shocking, bringing to an end an unbeaten run stretching back to July 2019.
Brazilian fans have also expressed their glee at the defeat of their South American rivals.
Mexico for their part could only muster a 0-0 draw with Poland, and Group C is one of the toughest to call at the World Cup.
On Wednesday, FIFA opened an investigation into potentially homophobic chanting by Mexican supporters during the game.
The Mexican Football Federation has previously been sanctioned by FIFA due to recurring anti-gay chanting aimed at opposition goalkeepers.
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