Thousands of excited Socceroos fans flooded Federation Square in the early morning hours of Sunday ahead of the World Cup match with Argentina.
15,000 thousand people gathered around the big screen while the square reached capacity at 6am blocking traffic in the CBD.
Thousands more piled into Melbourne Rectangular Stadium with AAMI Park opening its doors to receive 18,000 more spectators.
“They were showing on all the TV screens … our culture of enjoyment of football,” Victorian Tourism, Sports and Major Events Minister Steve Dimopoulos said outside AAMI Park on Sunday.
The big screen at Fed Square became lost behind thick plumes of red smoke from dozens of flares set off after Craig Goodwin’s deflected goal though chaos replaced cheers after Australia lost 2-1. Thankfully, only one arrest was made.
Dimopoulos praised the overall attitude of Socceroos supporters adding that “We saw crowds and families gathering here from quarter-to-five in the morning, so well-behaved, coming together as a community to watch their national team.”
“The Socceroos did us so extraordinarily proud … They will have a hero’s welcome when they come back to Australia.”
Screens also went up in Tumbalong Park at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, at Canberra Theatre in the nation’s capital and King George Square in Brisbane while Adelaide Oval also welcomed supporters.