Bizarre Moment Resulted in Chile Being Banned From World Cup

Published on October 13th, 2022 4:21 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The famous match at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil featuring the host nation and Chile ended early. September 3rd, 1989.

Brazil is hosting Chile at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

There were an incredible 141,072 people in attendance, and why not? The winner of the game was assured a spot in the World Cup, while the loser would possibly go home.

Heading into the final qualifying game, Brazil and Chile had identical records of 2-1-0.

Brazil had the edge in the final game, as they were playing in front of their fans.

Chile knew this and had a plan.


In the 49th minute, Brazil's Careca scored, putting Brazil ahead 1-0. This was very bad news for Chile, as Brazil enjoyed a big goal differential advantage, meaning that Chile would have to win to go to the World Cup.

In the 67th minute, Chile's goalkeeper Roberto Rojas saw his opportunity to act.

A firecracker was thrown from the crowd and landed near him.

Now was the time to act.

Rojas slumped to the ground, writhing in pain.

Little did the world know that Rojas had hidden a razor blade in one of his goalie gloves.

Similar to what a professional wrestler would do, Rojas decided to "blade" his forehead with the razor blade.

Rojas had to be carried off the field on a stretcher, and his fellow players refused to return to the pitch, saying that it was unsafe.

The game was abandoned.

Chile, desperate to advance to the World Cup, hoped that the incident would result in Brazil being penalized, to the benefit of Chile.


FIFA would investigate the incident, and they found that:

1) Rojas had injured himself with a hidden razor blade

2) Chile's coach, Orlando Aravena, had instructed Rojas to remain on the ground and be removed by a stretcher

3) The team doctor, Daniel Rodriguez, had been instructed to go along with the scheme

4) Chile's co-captain, Fernando Astengo, had pulled his team from the pitch, refusing to play

FIFA would declare that Brazil won the game 2-0, allowing Brazil to move forward to the World Cup.

Roberto Rojas, the coach and team doctor would all be banned for life (Rojas would be reinstated many years later).

Fernando Astengo would be banned from football for five years.

Chile would be banned from the 1994 World Cup.


Making the World Cup means everything to players, though sometimes they can go a bit too far to get there.

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