A civil war erupted between Australian fans at the 2020 FIFA World Cup, with supporters decrying ‘toxic’ behavior and abuse stemming from Socceroos in Qatar.
Australia scored a stunning opener against defending champions France in their Group D opener before being put to the sword in a humiliating 4-1 defeat.
As the French players entered the goal, some supporters in the stands decided to pour on the abuse with luge, including personal attacks and gruesome swearing around families and children trying to enjoy the game.
Craig Goodwin celebrates with teammates Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree and Aziz Behich after scoring their team’s first goal against France
“I was so ashamed to be an Aussie last night… ashamed to be sitting next to so many mean, ignorant and toxic people representing our country,” one fan posted online.
“The boos from the France team and the unbelievable insults and attacks directed at my Australian friend’s French brother-in-law, who sat among us, were atrocious. We were all there to enjoy the game.
“My friend’s parents had also flown in from Australia and were so shocked by the comments. There were children listening who also looked horrified. It basically ruined the whole experience for all of us.
Australian Socceroos fans clash with a man posing as a French supporter as they watch Australia take on France in the FIFA World Cup, at Federation Square in Melbourne
Another fan was in the same part of the stadium and agreed the language used was offensive, targeting star winger Kylian Mbappe in particular.
“I was also sitting near your section. I agree with you. Really toxic comments. The abusing guy used the c-word about 100 times. Very close to children. And the abuse Mbappe suffered. Sing ‘who are you’. He’s a once in a generation player,’ the fan said.
The fan went on to say that the French fan did well to keep his cool in the face of horrific abuse.
“The Aussie habit of dropping the C-bomb in mixed company is pathetic. Wouldn’t have happened in my time. Almost like a badge of honor for these clowns to swear as much as possible,’ the Aussie fan added.
Another Socceroos supporter said the abuse inflicted on players and fans went beyond typical football jokes and chants.
“That ‘offensive’ chant is part of the game, as long as it’s not racist and towards kids, it’s fine…Sing whatever you want…Put him out of his game.” Never mind, they said.
Mbappe battles for the ball with Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D soccer match between France and Australia at Al-Janoub Stadium
“But at one point an Australian launched a tirade against his French visiting family member for not representing Australia with his visiting family with all the expletives used. His buddies kept pulling him back and we’re even embarrassed about it. The French guy kind of ignored that.
However, not everyone was happy to hear news from the amusing police, saying overseas football spectators gave as much as they got.
‘Oh no, did you get offended at a football match? Oh poor you. May I suggest that you stop going to football matches then? Maybe it’s better. All that booing and cheering is getting a little too much for some people. We understood. So don’t come,’ a fan posted.
Most Socceroos fans did well and supported their team in the FIFA World Cup. There is no suggestion that any fan pictured misbehaved during the game against France
‘Jesus is this your first football game? Who are you, it’s hardly abused. Heard weekly around the world and always aimed at top players. This is top football, not kindergarten sports day,” said another.
‘What are you talking about my friend? Not here for a haircut. It’s life or death and if you can’t handle the boos of an anthem then go back to the AFL,’ another added.
Other spectators at Al Janoub Stadium said the Australian fans were doing better in their sections.
“We were at the very friendly, very fun match, without any problems! Guess it depends on where you were sitting,’ one posted.
“I’m really sorry that you had this experience. In fact, I had the opposite with friendly banter and passion on both sides. I also met French supporters and families. The crowd you sit is luck of the draw I guess,” posted another.
The Socceroos fan will have to speak out loud against Tunisia tomorrow night AEDT, former Australia defender Milos Degenek has warned – as the African nation’s fans will be loud.
“I have yet to see a team at a World Cup with so much heart, passion, desire and love for their country,” he said of Tunisia.
“They have phenomenal desire…the guys love each other and they have this fire in their eyes and they’re very strong in the way they do things.”