Soccer fans: Always up for a good brawl, anywhere, anytime

Among the more interesting aspects of the World Cup is the fanaticism it invokes.

As the world’s most popular sporting event – 3.2 billion people watched the last World Cup, in 2014 – it’s bound to attract a number of zealots. But often the circumstances of such passion prove more than slightly curious.

Take yesterday’s match between Poland and Senegal. One wouldn’t expect there to be too much conflict between fans of countries more than 3,000 miles apart, but, then again, this is the World Cup.

Which is why approximately four dozen Polish and Senegalese soccer fans brawled while watching a live screening of the game – in Antwerp, Belgium!

Benches and fists were thrown in the donnybrook, which occurred after an argument started.

“It got out of hand and people started throwing chairs,” bar manager Johan Peeraer told local paper Gazet van Antwerpen.

While disturbances have been rare during this year’s World Cup, certainly rarer than in past Cups, the fact that fans from an Eastern European country and an African country brawled while in a North Sea city watching a game played in Moscow is fascinating.

I suppose it’s the equivalent of me and two dozen buddies brawling with the same number of angry Uruguayans in a cantina in Baja California while watching a Formula 1 race in San Marino. Except, this only seems to happen in soccer.

It’s almost enough to make up for the deadly boredom of the sport.

(Top: Poland and Senegal locking horns Tuesday in World Cup action.)

13 thoughts on “Soccer fans: Always up for a good brawl, anywhere, anytime

  1. My father, born in 1900, used to attend the Celtic – green shirts, Catholic – v Glasgow Rangers – blue shirts, Protestant – football matches in the inter war period.
    One end, guess which, would be singing ‘Hail Glorious Saint Patrick Dear Saint of Our Isle’ while the other would resound to ‘Toora loora Kick the Pope’.
    The referee usually had to be carried from the ground in a laundry basket to avoid the reception of frank views on his skills…the only ecumenical moment was the cry of both sets of supporters…Kill them and we’ll bury them…but there was no post match violence and certainly none on the terraces.
    No television…intelligence enough not to venture into a pub used by the opposing side’s supporters…and the acceptance that it was only a game.

    • Now that would have been something to see, the atmosphere more so than the game, though I imagine the games were spirited affairs with good play. I got a kick out of the Ranger’s fans’ cheer, but also the fact that hooliganism wasn’t apparently rare.

      I don’t know if that’s something that’s arisen with the stark nationalism of recent decades or if there are other factors behind it. Would likely make for a great sociology paper by some enterprising student/football fan.

  2. Great analogy but have to take issue with the boredom bit! Football is FAR more entertaining than watching a few cars follow each other round a track at speed.

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