Brazil fans have written off their side’s chances of beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina after Emerson Royal and Marquinhos were named in Fernando Diniz’s starting XI.
Selecao sit fifth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table heading into tonight’s encounter with La Abiceleste. They are five points off Lionel Scaloni’s leaders as the two South American powerhouses battle at the Maracana.
Diniz has opted to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation to try and halt Argentina’s excellent start to the qualifying campaign. Alisson Becker starts in goal, with Emerson and Marquinhos joined in defense by Gabriel Magalhaes and Carlos Augusto.
Meanwhile, the in-demand Andre is in midfield alongside Bruno Guimaraes. Raphinha, Rodrygo, and Gabriel Martinelli sit behind Gabriel Jesus, with the Arsenal striker tasked with leading the line.
However, Diniz’s decision to start Emerson and Marquinhos hasn’t gone down well with fans. This is despite the former impressing for Tottenham Hotspur under Ange Postecoglou this season.
The former Barcelona right-back has made 10 appearances across competitions, scoring one goal. He’s set to make his 10th international appearance for Brazil tonight.
Marquinhos has been an ever-present for Paris Saint-Germain so far this season. The Parisians’ captain has appeared 14 times across competitions, helping the Ligue 1 giants keep eight clean sheets.
The duo will be charged with trying to keep the likes of Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez quiet at the Maracana. But, one fan doesn’t see that happening:
“Emerson is starting RIP Brazil.”
Another fan made their feelings clear about Marquinhos:
“Marquinhos is absolutely awful. I never want to see him wear yellow ever again.”
Here’s how fans on X (formerly Twitter) reacted to Diniz’s lineup to face Argentina:
Marquinhos warns Brazil they won’t be able to stop ‘genius’ former PSG teammate Lionel Messi
Marquinhos fired a warning to his Brazil teammates about the prospect of facing Argentina hero Lionel Messi. The veteran defender knows just how irrepressible the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is having played with him at PSG. He said (via GOAL):
“Messi is a genius and a special player, and despite his age he will always do great things. As a friend and colleague, I enjoyed him very much in Paris and developed with him in all aspects.”
The Parisian defender added that most of Argentina’s joy comes through the legendary forward:
“Unfortunately, Messi will be an opponent, and I spoke with my colleagues not to stop him because that would not be the right word, but to limit his participation in the game. He is an amazing player and we must be careful with him because most of what Argentina does goes through Messi.”
Lionel Messi has been in superb form during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. He’s managed three goals in four games, taking his overall international tally to 106 goals and 56 assists in 179 caps.