Two South American giants reeling from injuries and poor results meet at the famed Maracana in a 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday with far more on the line than they thought.
Both Brazil and Argentina are coming off losses in their previous match, an incredible rarity for two teams that both navigated 2022 qualification without a single defeat across 17 matches.
Brazil are in worse shape, with just two wins over their first five matches of the current qualifying cycle, suffering their first-ever qualifying defeat to Colombia last time out, dropping them to fifth in the standings. They also lost star forward Vinicius Jr to a serious injury in the process, just a month after Neymar suffered a long-term knee injury as well.
Argentina, meanwhile, saw their perfect start to qualifying torn down in a 2-0 defeat to Uruguay at home. The two goals conceded were their first given up since the 2022 World Cup final, and it marked just the second time ever that both Brazil and Argentina were defeated in World Cup qualifying on the same day.
The Sporting News is following the Brazil vs Argentina match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. local (7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT)
Location: Maracana Stadium (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Referee: Piero Maza Gomez
Brazil (4-3-3, right to left): Alisson (GK) — Emerson, Marquinhos, Gabriel, Lodi — Guimaraes, Rodrygo, D. Luiz — Raphinha, Endrick, Joao Pedro.
Argentina (4-3-3, right to left): Martinez (GK) — Montiel, Romero, Pezzella, Tagliafico — Mac Allister, Fernandez, De Paul — Messi, Alvarez, Gonzalez.
2 hours to kickoff: While always a thrilling affair, the match between Brazil and Argentina usually has little tangible bearing on the CONMEBOL qualifying standings, as both are often sitting in comfortable positions. With the World Cup expansion seeing more teams reach the final tournament this cycle, it was expected that this match would have even less competitive meaning.
Yet now, with Argentina sitting precariously atop the standings and Brazil languishing down in fifth, there’s far more than simply pride on the line at the Maracana tonight.
The major news for Brazil is a knee injury that forced attacker Vinicius Jr out of the Colombia game during the first half and could keep the Real Madrid livewire out until 2024. Manchester United midfielder and Brazil captain Casemiro is out of the squad with a hamstring problem. The Selecao are also without Neymar due to a long-term knee injury.
Ederson pulled out of the squad injured, so Liverpool’s Alisson is certain to start in goal. Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus missed the Colombia game with a hamstring issue.
Brazil projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Alisson (GK) — Emerson, Marquinhos, Gabriel, Lodi — Guimaraes, Rodrygo, D. Luiz — Raphinha, Endrick, Joao Pedro.
Brazil subs (12): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho didn’t make the Argentina squad, which is a sign of how much strength in depth manager Lionel Scaloni can call upon.
Lionel Messi will surely start in a free role, with the likes of Rodrigo De Paul and Enzo Fernandez tasked with covering the ground behind him.
Argentina projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Martinez (GK) — Montiel, Romero, Pezzella, Tagliafico — Mac Allister, Fernandez, De Paul — Messi, Alvarez, Gonzalez.
Argentina subs (12): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
Here’s how to watch this World Cup Qualifier across selected areas of the world’s major regions: