Chilean World Cup fans break into Rio stadium

ALAN CLENDENNING, STEPHEN WADE, Associated Press Writers
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Chile fans run through the press center prior to the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.  (AP Photo/Akmal Rajput)

Chile fans run through the press center prior to the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Akmal Rajput)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — About 100 soccer fans wearing Chilean jerseys busted through a security checkpoint at the Maracana stadium less than an hour before the Spain-Chile game Wednesday, rampaging through the media room as they desperately tried to find a way to the stands.

The red-shirted Chileans, mostly young men, sprinted through the huge FIFA media center underneath the stands, pushing and shoving their way toward a corridor they apparently thought would lead to the grandstands.

To get to the corridor, the rampaging crowd broke down a temporary wall, sending metal lockers crashing to the ground, according to AP journalists.

FIFA declined to provide immediate comment, saying it would release a statement.

Once inside that corridor, the fans realized it didn’t lead to the stands, so they turned around and headed back toward the media room. There, security guards gained control of the situation about 15 minutes after it started, and forced dozens of fans to sit down in a group.

Chilean fans are surrounded by security personnel after breaking into Maracana Stadium before the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.  (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Chilean fans are surrounded by security personnel after breaking into Maracana Stadium before the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and Chile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Many covered their face with scarves containing Chile’s logo as they were photographed and filmed by journalists.

“I was the lone guy standing out there (near entry to press center),” security guard Diego Goncalves said. “All of a sudden they knocked down the fence and just pushed their way through.”

Asked how many guards should have been watching the entryway where the Chileans busted through, Goncalves said “about 20.”

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AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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