Socceroos fans embroiled in ugly scenes after France World Cup loss

France supporters had water bottles thrown at them by Socceroos fans in ugly scenes at Melbourne's Fed Square. Pic: AAP
France supporters had water bottles thrown at them by Socceroos fans in ugly scenes at Melbourne's Fed Square. Pic: AAP

Socceroos fans in Melbourne have been labelled "cowards" after ugly scenes broke out at Federation Square during Australia's humbling 4-1 defeat to France at the World Cup. A brace from Olivier Giroud and goals from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe saw the World Cup holders seal an emphatic come-from-behind win after Craig Goodwin's superb strike had given the Socceroos an early lead.

A large crowd gathered in the early hours of the morning at Melbourne's Fed Square to watch the action unfold, with Goodwin's ninth minute opener creating a celebratory mood for the throng of Aussie supporters. However, the mood soured the longer the game went on as France flexed their considerable footballing muscle to take the game away from the Socceroos.

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Footage captured at Fed Square showed frustrations boiling over for many Socceroos fans, who reportedly targeted the much smaller number of French supporters gathered in Melbourne to watch the match at the public fan site. Vision shows rival fans pushing and shoving one another as others tried to stop the concerning crowd surge.

ABC News journalist Stephanie Ferrier shared video of one such incident on social media, in which she describes Socceroos fans throwing bottles of water and other drinks onto French supporters, after their side had gone behind against the reigning world champions in their Group D opener.

One user on social media claimed the ugly scenes came after Socceroos fans stole a French flag from Les Blues supporters, before targeting the small group of rival fans. The behaviour of some of the Socceroos fans was labelled an "absolute embarrassment" from Fox Sports reporter Cody Kaye.

Olivier Giroud equals France goalscoring record

France responded to the setback of going behind to Goodwin's sumptuous finish, with an equaliser to Rabiot after the midfielder nodded in a cross from Theo Hernandez. Three minutes later, the reigning world champions were ahead after Giroud capitalised on a horror moment from Socceroos debutant, Nathaniel Atkinson.

The Aussie defender was caught in possession by Rabiot deep inside his own half, before the Frenchman exchanged passes with Mbappé, who surged into the penalty area and squared it for Giroud to prod home.

Leading the line for France in place of injured Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema - who was ruled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury on the eve of the tournament - Giroud then found himself on the end of another pin-point cross from France's third goal scorer Mbappe in the second half, to complete the 4-1 rout and equal Thierry Henry's all-time goals record for France.

Seen here, France striker Olivier Giroud salutes fans after brace against the Socceroos at the World Cup.
Olivier Giroud's brace against the Socceroos saw him equal Thierry Henry's record as France's all-time leading goalscorer. Pic: Getty

Giroud's goalscoring feat for France is even more impressive considering he took eight fewer games to match Henry's France record. The France striker's 51st goal for Les Blues came in his 115th appearance for the national side, compared to Henry's 123 games.

France's win against the Socceroos saw them jump to the top of Group D after Denmark and Tunisia played out a goalless draw earlier. Andreas Cornelius had a glorious chance to win the game for the more fancied Danes but somehow contrived to miss a header from less than one metre out from goal.

Brought on as a 65th minute substitute - Cornelius soon found himself at the back post with the goal at his mercy 10 minutes later when Andreas Christensen nodded down a corner that found his Danish teammate unmarked. Cornelius had a glorious chance to break the deadlock, if only he had the composure necessary to take the chance.

In hindsight, the Danish star probably could and should have poked the ball into the back of the net with his boot, but opted instead to try and guide it into the back of the net via a diving header. Unfortunately for Cornelius and the Danes, his contact was poor and the header hit the post and bounced back from centimetres out.

Things don't get any easier next up for the Danes, with a showdown against France in their second Group D game, while the Socceroos next meet Tunisia on Saturday night (9pm AEDT), looking for a win to kickstart their World Cup campaign.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand.

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