SBS presenter Lucy Zelic has been criticised by some viewers after becoming emotional during coverage of the World Cup final.
Proudly sporting a Croatian jersey in honour of her heritage, the usually composed Zelic choked back tears on Monday morning before and after Croatia’s loss to France.
In lead up to the match, Zelic shed tears while reading a quote from the Croatian coach, saying: ‘If there was a stadium big enough for 4.5 million people it would be full.’
‘I’m sorry, this is the line (from Rakitic) that got me,’ she said as she wiped away tears.
‘I’m sorry, apologies, but it’s a really big deal for the Croatians,’ she said.
SBS host Lucy Zelic (with co-host Craig Foster) choked back tears on live television in the pre-match build up to Croatia’s World Cup final showdown against France
Co-host Craig Foster supported Zelic, saying: ‘it is incredible what [Croatia’s] done. It’s triumph of human spirit’.
Following the game, Zelic became tearful again as she and Foster congratulated each other for their coverage of the World Cup.
She was overcome with emotion when Foster told her how impressed he was with her presenting skills, and gifted her a bouquet of flowers.
‘Finally Luce, can I say well done to you. It really has been an extraordinary performance that you have given this World Cup,’ Foster said.
Foster himself teared up when he compared Zelic’s hosting to Croatian player Luka Modric who won player of the tournament.
‘You have orchestrated it for us right throughout the World Cup and you have been the best player of this World Cup.
‘Can I say it’s been a privilege to see you really grow through this World Cup.’
He commended her for her ‘bravery’ taking over from Les Murray, and gifted her a bunch of roses.
Lucy Zelic and Craig Foster congratulated each other on their coverage of the World Cup
‘You came here and it wasn’t easy to sit here on this couch after Les had done it, but you did it in an extraordinary way. You were brave, you faced personal challenges throughout as well,’ he said.
‘We have got you a little bunch of red roses which are very symbolic for SBS. These are the roses that Les loved… and he used to say it is important to smell the roses.’
Zelic was moved to tears, saying she was ‘touched and honoured’.
‘I’m only as good as the people around me and to be blessed with colleagues like you who have done nothing but respect me and show enormous amounts of support,’ she said.
Following the coverage, online trolls criticised Zelic for failing to keep her composure.
Lucy Zelic got a photo with Swedish playerZlatan Ibrahimović while covering the World Cup
‘Oh boo hoo,’ one critic said.
‘Nauseating in the extreme,’ they said.
One man said the World Cup coverage had been reduced to a ‘soap opera’.
‘It was hilarious with Craig Foster and Lucy Zelic acting so dramatic,’ he said.
However, dozens of viewers took to Twitter to praise Zelic.
‘Please don’t apologise for being emotional, you created TV magic tonight,’ one viewer said.
‘That was one of the most genuine and heartfelt TV moments I’ve ever seen.’
Another commended Zelic, saying: ‘Got to love a girl proud of her heritage! You cry all you want Lucy.’
Zelic has been the subject of abuse throughout the World Cup coverage for her tendency to enunciate players’ names in the brogue of their native country.
The presenter was forced to defend herself after critics accused her of adopting a ‘fake accent’.
‘If you’ve got a problem with me saying a player’s name correctly, that says more about you than it says about me,’ Zelic told Fitzy and Wippa on Nova 96.9.
‘If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.’
Lucy Zelic and the SBS crew in Russia earlier this month, celebrating the news that remaining games at the World Cup would be live and free on SBS
Zelic’s parents migrated to Australia 50 years ago. She is also the sister of former Australian Socceroos Ned and Stan Zelic.
On Saturday, Zelic posted a video on Instagram of Croatian fans in Russia celebrating their World Cup final berth.
‘I’ve been in Russia for five weeks now and missed my loved ones terribly but when I heard the Croatian anthem being sung on my way back to the hotel, I instantly felt right at home,’ she posted.
‘It still hasn’t sunk in yet that they’ve achieved this remarkable feat. On the night they qualified, I phoned my mum and dad and we were all in tears. To hear the sheer excitement in my father’s voice is something I will never forget.’