A civil war has erupted between Australian supporters at the 2020 FIFA World Cup with fans calling out ‘toxic’ behaviour and abuse coming from Socceroos in Qatar.
Australia scored a stunning first goal against defending champions France in their opening match of Group D before being put to the sword in a humiliating 4-1 defeat.
As the French players poured in the goals, some supporters in the stands decided to pour on the abuse with sledging including personal attacks and horrible expletives around families and children trying to enjoy the game.
Craig Goodwin celebrates with teammates Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree and Aziz Behich after scoring their side’s first goal against France
‘I was so ashamed to be an Australian last night… ashamed that we were sitting near so many nasty, ignorant, toxic people representing our country,’ one fan posted online.
‘The booing of the French team and the insults and unbelievable aggression directed at my Australian friend’s French brother in law, sitting amongst us, was atrocious. We were all there to enjoy the game.
‘My friend’s parents had also flown out from Australia and were so shocked at the comments. There were children listening in who also looked horrified. It’s basically ruined the whole experience for all of us.’
Australian Socceroos fans clash with a man pretending to be a French supporter while they watch Australia play 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 shocking, especially targeting star winger Kylian Mbappe.
‘I was sitting near your section too. I agree with you. Really toxic comments. The guy who was doing all the abusing used the c word about 100 times. All near kids. And the abuse Mbappe got. Singing ‘who are ya’. He’s a once in a generation player,’ the fan posted.
The fan continued by saying the French fan did well to keep his composure in the face of horrendous abuse.
‘The Australian habit of dropping the C bomb in mixed company is pathetic. Wouldn’t have happened in my day. Almost like a badge of honour for these some of these clowns to swear as much as possible,’ the Aussie fan added.
Another Socceroos supporter said the abuse being hurled at players and fans went beyond typical football banter and chanting.
‘That ‘offensive’ chanting is part of the game, as long as it’s not racist and towards kids it’s okay… Chant what you want… Put him off his game. Whatever,’ they said.
Mbappe fights for the ball with Australia’s midfielder Jackson Irvine during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium
‘But at one point one Aussie launched a tirade at her visiting French family member for not representing Australia with his visiting family with all the expletives used. His mates kept pulling him back and we’re even embarrassed by it. The French guy kind of shrugged it off.’
Not everyone was happy to hear from the fun police, though, saying overseas football spectators gave as good as they got.
‘Oh no, you got offended at a football game? Aw poor you. Can I suggest you don’t go to anymore football games then? That might be best. All that booing and cheering, gets a bit much for some people. We get it. So don’t come,’ one fan posted.
Most Socceroos fans have been well behaved and getting behind their team at the FIFA World Cup. There is no suggestion any fan pictured misbehaved during the game against France
‘Jesus is this your first football match? Who are ya it’s hardly abuse. Heard every week across the world and always aimed at the best players. This is top tier football not kindergarten sports day,’ said another.
‘What are you on about mate? Not here for a haircut. It’s life and death and if you can’t handle booing of an anthem then bugger off back to AFL,’ added another.
Other spectators at Al Janoub Stadium said the Aussie fans were better behaved in their sections.
‘We were at the game very friendly lots of fun no issues at all! I guess it depends where you were sitting,’ one posted.
‘I’m so sorry you had that experience. I actually had the opposite with friendly banter, and passion from both sides. I also sat with France supporters and families. The crowd you sit with is luck of the draw, I guess,’ posted another.
The Socceroos fan will need to in full voice against Tunisia tomorrow night AEDT, former Australian defender Milos Degenek has warned – because the African nation’s fans will be loud.
‘I haven’t seen a team at a World Cup yet with this much heart and passion and desire and love for their country,’ he said of Tunisia.
‘They have got phenomenal desire … the guys love each other and they have this fire in their eyes and they’re very strong in the way they go about things.’