There were wild scenes across the country as tens of thousands of fans flocked to live viewing sites to watch the Socceroos heartbreaking World Cup loss to Argentina on Sunday morning.
Many were well behaved, but there were multiple reports of injuries including a woman losing a chunk of her hair after a flare hit her and an Argentinean fan being rushed to hospital after having a milk crate thrown at his head.
More than 15,000 people packed into Melbourne’s Federation Square prior to kick-off, with police forced to cordon the area off and direct people towards the new live site at AAMI Park which hit its 18,000 capacity not long after.
The last-minute addition to the live viewing sites around the country – Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, Sydney – also quickly reached its 25,000 capacity despite NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet not opening one for other World Cup games.
Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, Sydney, was literally packed to the rafters as 20,000 fans flocked to the live viewing site to watch the Socceroos
Several flares can be seen alight at Sydney’s live viewing site for the World Cup on Sunday morning
A woman was seen holding the back of her head as a chunk of her hair is visibly seen missing after being hit with a flare
More than 20,000 people were crammed into Tumbalong Park to watch the match
Flares were a constant presence at all the sites with one hitting a woman in the back of the head in Sydney, taking out a huge chunk 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 in King George Square, Brisbane. One 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 King George Square in Brisbane, where the vociferous crowd were seen throwing objects – including a milk crate.
One young man wearing an Argentina shirt had to be rushed to the Royal Brisbane Hospital by ambulance after the the crate hit him in the face, causing a facial injury.
‘The fans were mostly good but one guy got a box thrown at him and he was bleeding, there was a patch of blood on the ground,’ Argentina fan Delfina Moresco, who witnessed the incident, told the Courier Mail.
‘There were some fans who don’t watch football who were drunk and wanting to watch something.’
Scores of fans took to King George Square in Brisbane to watch the match, though unfortunately one man had to be taken to hospital after being hit in the head with a milk crate
At Federation Square, there was a heavy police presence, with tens of thousands of people swarming all over Melbourne’s CBD.
‘Australia’s sporting capital’, as it is colloquially known, was at its finest – but unfortunately some of the fans were not.
Flares were of course prevalent, and even started a small fire on the roof of the nearby Transport Bar (that was promptly put out by firemen) prior to kick-off, while footage shows bottles being thrown amongst the massive crowd.
As police attempted to control a bunch of men who had started a scuffle, one furious father told the Herald Sun that his 13-year-old son was indiscriminately pepper sprayed.
There were continual flares seen alight all through the match at Federation Square – one in fact sparked a small fire on the roof of a nearby bar
15,000 fans packed into a filled-to-the-brim Federation Square in Melbourne to watch the Socceroos play on the big screen
‘Police sprayed by son and his mates in the face and body,’ he said.
‘They got pretty burnt. There were pretty distressed. They couldn’t see. They were freaking out.’
‘What are the grounds for a kid to get pepper sprayed. They were at the back of the crowd, there to watch the soccer,’ said the man.
Victoria Police are believed to be releasing a statement later today about the crowd behaviour, but indicated that they pleased, overall, with how the fans conducted themselves.
A handful of arrests were made, according to the Herald Sun.