There were wild scenes across the country as tens of thousands of fans flocked to live viewing sites to watch Socceroo’s heartbreaking World Cup loss to Argentina on Sunday morning.
Many behaved well, but there were multiple reports of injuries, including a woman who lost a chunk of her hair after a flare hit her and an Argentina fan who was rushed to hospital after a milk crate was thrown at his head.
More than 15,000 people gathered in Melbourne’s Federation Square ahead of kick-off, with police forced to cordon off the area and direct people to the new live site at AAMI Park, which reached its capacity of 18,000 not long after.
The last-minute addition to live viewing sites across the country – Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, Sydney – also quickly reached its capacity of 25,000, despite NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet not opening one for any other World Cup matches.
Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, Sydney was literally packed to the brim as 20,000 fans flocked to the live viewing area to watch the Socceroos
Several flares can be seen at Sydney’s live viewing venue for the World Cup on Sunday morning
A woman was seen holding the back of her head with a chunk of her hair visibly missing after being hit with a flare
More than 20,000 people were crammed into Tumbalong Park to watch the match
Flares were constantly present at all locations, with one woman hitting a woman in the back of the head in Sydney, removing much of her hair according to News Corp.
The woman was seen holding her head after multiple flares were thrown into the crowd.
Multiple flares were seen being thrown at King George Square, Brisbane. A man also had to be rushed to hospital after being hit in the face with a milk crate
There were also rowdy fans watching from Brisbane’s King George Square, where the rowdy crowd was seen throwing objects – including a milk crate.
A young man wearing an Argentina shirt had to be rushed to Royal Brisbane Hospital by ambulance after the coffin hit him in the face, causing injuries to his face.
“The fans were mostly good, but a guy had a box thrown at him and he was bleeding, there was a bloodstain on the floor,” said Argentina fan Delfina Moresco, who witnessed the incident. Courier Mail.
“There were some fans who didn’t watch football, who were drunk and wanted to see something.”
Dozens of fans took to Brisbane’s King George Square to watch the match, though sadly one man had to be taken to hospital after being hit on the head with a milk crate
Federation Square had a heavy police presence, with tens of thousands of people swarming Melbourne’s CBD.
‘Australia’s sporting capital’, as it is popularly known, was at its best – but sadly some fans weren’t.
Flares, of course, were rife and even started a small fire on the roof of the nearby Transport Bar (which was promptly extinguished by firefighters) ahead of kick-off, while footage shows bottles being thrown amongst the huge crowd.
As police tried to control a group of men who had started a scuffle, an irate father told the Announce sun that his 13-year-old son was indiscriminately sprayed with pepper spray.
There were continuous flares in Federation Square throughout the game – one even started a small fire on the roof of a nearby bar
15,000 fans gathered in a packed Federation Square in Melbourne to watch the Socceroos play on the big screen
“Police sprayed son and his mates in the face and body,” he said.
“They’re pretty burned. There were quite sad. They couldn’t see. They were crazy.’
What are the reasons for a child to get pepper spray? They sat at the back of the crowd, there to watch the football,’ the man said.
Victoria Police were due to release a statement later today about the behavior of the crowd, but said they were generally happy with how fans behaved.
A handful of arrests were made, according to the Herald Sun.