July 23, 2014
Group FTuesday, June 24, 2014
Argentina arrives in Porto Alegre
PORTO ALEGRE — Argentina’s national team, already qualified for the knockout stage, arrived yesterday at 8.42pm in Porto Alegre where it will face Nigeria tomorrow with the aim of topping Group B to avoid a probable match against Germany, which eliminated Argentina in the last two World Cups.
A stadium as packed as it was in Argentina’s two match is expected as tens of thousands of Argentines are crossing the border into southern Brazil in an invasion of the city of Porto Alegre.
It promises to be a celebration of their shared “gaucho” culture as well as soccer. But police are also bracing for trouble from Argentina’s notorious “barras bravas,”hooligans who may try to spoil the party.
“Truthfully, this is very big for us,” said Charles Muller, owner of stall in Port Alegre’s public market selling soccer memorabilia.
“The Argentines are welcome here. It will be like a gaucho fiesta. The hooligans are a minority who do not come for the soccer or the fun, just for trouble.”
Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, is indeed more akin to neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay than to the rest of the country. Many of the Argentine fans do not have match tickets.
The other group team passing to the next stage will be decided between Iran and Nigeria.
After three games at the World Cup, it could come down to a lottery to decide which of two teams advances to the second round.
Because of their previous results in Brazil, and the quirks of the FIFA tiebreaker system, there’s a possibility that Iran and Nigeria will face exactly that scenario after their last group games tomorrow.
If Iran beats Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 and Nigeria loses 1-0 to Argentina, the teams would be tied with four points and exactly the same number of goals scored and conceded. The teams drew 0-0 in their first game against each other, meaning the only remaining tiebreaker would be a drawing of lots.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said the lottery would be held at the Maracanã stadium 90 minutes after their games finish.
Télam, Reuters, AP