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NEWS FEATURE Fan insults from Brazilians and Argentinians causing concern By Georg Ismar, dpa

Europe
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Disturbances between Brazilian and Argentinian fans at football events are not out of the ordinary. But both fans groups are using the Olympics to insult the other country. And even the governments from both nations have called for restraint.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Brazil and Argentina have a long time rivalry in sports. And while fighting among fans is not uncommon in the football world, disturbances involving fans from the two countries are raising concern at the Rio Olympics.

The tennis match between Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro and Portugal‘s Joao Sousa was the site of a fight between a man wearing a Brazil jersey and one wearing an Argentine shirt. Soldiers needed to come in to break up the fight in the tennis stands.

"We need peace between Argentina and Brazil. This is not football here," Del Potro said after the victory.

In the volleyball arena, Argentinian fans taunted Brazil with songs and chants while Brazilian spectators watching the Argentina v Algeria football match cheered out: "Chile, Chile" - referring to their archrivals losing to Chile in the last two finals of the Copa America.

And then Argentinian fans insulted Brazil at the basketball game between Argentina and Nigeria, prompting Argentinian captain Luis Scola to say: "For me it‘s stupid to sing out against a team that is not even on the court."

Rio organisers have appealed to the fans of both countries to remain peaceful, tweeting: "The rivalry only exists on the court. In the stands, the Games are binding and friendly."

Some wonder if the Argentinians are envious that their main rivals Brazil of all countries were chosen to host the first Olympics in South America.

Many Argentinians believe the Brazilians are too soft. The Argentinians celebrated reaching the final of the 2014 football World Cup and enjoyed watching the hosts Brazil get humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals. Afterwards, nearly all 200 million Brazilians were supporting the Germans in the final.

In light of those incidents, the big basketball battle between Brazil and Argentina on Saturday is causing some concern. Even the governments of both countries are appealing to their fans to show restraint. And the sports ministers of the countries have organised a special meeting in Rio.

Argentina men‘s volleyball player Facundo Conte urged his compatriots in the stands to sing for Argentina and not against someone else.

"Football is football. The World Cup is over, these are the Olympics," Conte said.

The Brazilian fanatics have even spread their nasty antics to another Olympic participant not from Argentina.

Before the Games, United States women‘s football keeper Hope Solo tweeted a picture of herself wearing a mosquito mask, in reference to the Zika virus. That didn‘t go over well with Brazilians, who have chanted "Ole, Ole, Ole, Zika, Zika" every time Hope has touched the ball at the Olympics.

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