Fed Square in Melbourne has been the fulcrum of incredible scenes during the Socceroos' campaign at the FIFA World Cup, but ugly scenes have erupted during round of 16 clash. The Socceroos put in a heroic effort against the South Americans, but a Lionel Messi masterclass helped guide nbdArgentina to a 2-1 victory to end Australia's campaign.
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And just like the group stage matches, diehard football fans arrived at Fed Square at 5am in the morning to watch the Socceroos. The iconic Melbourne spot has witnessed remarkable scenes in the early hours of the morning, which has been broadcasted all around the world.
Socceroos fans at Fed Square delivered a boisterous rendition of the national anthem at 5.55am in the morning. Photos showcasing the unique scene also showed just how the Socceroos had united the nation.
However, Victorian Police announced that the scenes were slightly more ugly during the Argentina clash. Police monitored the 15,000 fans who cheered on Australia and a statement claimed a number of people were injured during the celebration after flares were fired into the crowd. Two police officers were also injured.
"Police witnessed fireworks being set off in the crowd a large number of flares being thrown at the screen, causing damage to the stage area," a police statement read. "Two people were taken to hospital with minor burns from flares. Federation Square reached capacity at 5am, prior to the match commencing. Police were forced to use OC spray when people began forcing their way into the venue, causing minor injuries to two police officers."
Fed Square announced that the venue had hit capacity before kick-off and patrons were sending any arrivals to AAMI Park.
Despite some trouble, a number of fans remained behind to help clean up the trash left behind after the 15,000 strong crowd departed.
Coach Graham Arnold calls for government help
After Australia's heartbreaking loss, coach Graham Arnold called for the government to help fund football in the nation after watching the euphoric scenes back home during the World Cup.
Speaking after the match, Arnold pleaded for more funding in junior development so Australia can build on the 2022 success in Qatar.
"We need to spend money and get help from the government to put some money into the game to help develop kids," Arnold said. "One thing I would really love to see before I finish up completely in football is the government build us a house.
"We don't have a home. We have been homeless since I have been involved for 37 years in the national teams. "We need a home, a facility like ... the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), something that the government can help fund for the development of the national teams but also for the good of Australian football."
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