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Argentina's gauchos flocking to Brazil lend ethnic flavor to World Cup Nigeria clash

June 24, 2014, 15:25 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO

Led by forward Lionel Messi, Argentina has already secured a spot in the Last 16 round of the World Cup

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RIO DE JANEIRO, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Tens of thousands of Argentinean football fans are flocking to neighboring Brazil, where their national team will be playing against Nigeria on Wednesday in a group stage match of the 2014 World Cup.

Wednesday’s midday clash between Argentina and Nigeria will take place in the city of Porto Alegre, located in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, bordering Argentina and Uruguay. The match at the 43,400-seat capacity Beira-Rio stadium kicks off at 1:00 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT).

According to Brazilian law enforcers, between 100,000 and 120,000 Argentineans are expected to be in Porto Alegre by the time the match starts as more keep arriving by plane, bus or car.

Most arriving Argentineans lack tickets for the match and Brazilian law enforcers are tightening security on the streets of Porto Alegre, looking out notably for hooligans from Argentina's notorious “barras bravas” football fans group.

Since the start of the global football event on June 12, Brazilian police have deported about 20 hooligans from “barras bravas” for aggressive behavior. Argentine fans were reported as clashing with Brazilian supporters on Saturday in the city of Belo Horizonte. Police were forced to use special means to disperse the scuffles.

But local residents at the Rio Grande do Sul are not expecting trouble from the so-called Argentine invasion - glad instead to receive guests for the fiesta.

Reuters news agency cited the owner of a stall selling football memorabilia in Port Alegre's public market as saying that “In truth, this is very big for us."

"The Argentinians are welcome here,” he was quoted as saying. “It will be pretty much like a gaucho fiesta. The hooligans are a minority who do not come for the football or the fun, just for trouble."

Residents of Rio Grande do Sul are known as “gauchos” and cultivate the traditions and culture of the Pampas, the border region of Argentina and Uruguay. Strong traditions are such as drinking “mate” tea in gourd cups, eating a good steak barbeque and enjoying the dress code of bombachas - baggy trousers, large wide hats, cowboy leather boots and substantial belts.

Led by forward Lionel Messi, Argentina has already secured a spot in the Last 16 round of the World Cup after defeating their Group F opponents Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 15 (2-1) and then Iran on June 21 (1-0).

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