Flares and frowns as jammed Fed Square faces Matildas loss
They came to party -- but the result and the reaction at Fed Square was not what Melbourne wanted, write Jack Campbell and Matthew Parkhill
Federation Square was clouded in disappointment and a red-flare haze as the Matildas defeat at the hands of England was met with a mix crowd sorrow and pockets of bad behaviour on Wednesday night
Many fans had to barrack and then mourn from afar as Federation Square reached maximum capacity”, preventing thousands of fans from entering and ending in the arrest, fine and removal of some who broke down crowd barriers to force their way into the live site.
“You could feel the ground lift up, there was hope," said Matildas supporter Jess. ” Photo: Matthew Parkhill
With a crowd capacity of 10,000 Federation square was overflowing, with police and security desperately trying to preserve the boundaries and maintain security of the site.
Organisers pleaded for “family friendly” behaviour, but those appeals fell on deaf ears with some in the crowd booing, lighting flares and setting off smoke bombs.
Spectators pack up their excitement and prepare for the long trip home. Photo: Matthew Parkhill
Despite a promising return in the second half with Australian icon Sam Kerr levelling the scores at 1-1 with a phenomenal goal, the ecstatic crowd at Federation Square started to thin as England struck back in the last 20 minutes of the game with two crushing goals, ending the night with a 3-1 loss for the Aussies.
But in the face of defeat, most fans ended the night with spirits high.
“I'm so proud of the girls. So proud of Australia. They've done no wrong. We're so proud of them,” one fan told The Burne.
“That's why the world knows [Kerr’s] name. She had the entire country on her shoulders, she was carrying us.”