A Kiwi reporter has been caught in the first known act of World Cup-related violence to affect New Zealand, taking a pint of lager to the face live on the AM Show as England fell to Croatia in extra time.
Across the UK the faithful had gathered, stuffing pubs and parks the nation over to watch the lads get one step closer to finally bringing football home. Newshub’s European correspondent Lloyd Burr was at Boxpark in Croydon, South London, perched on a balcony above anywhere from 4000 to 5000 drunken fans, all careening from ecstasy to pure British rage as the scoreline shifted.
Three minutes from the end of extra time, Burr crosses live to New Zealand, speaking nary a word before a punter comes in-frame, screaming something like “You’re not even fucking English!”
Burr shows him a stiff fend and continues his piece to camera.
“It has gone from jubilation here to –” he begins, making it not halfway through his sentence before a pint is hurtled from offscreen, catching Burr square in the face and saturating his English supporter’s shirt. Ever the professional, Burr wipes his face and starts from the top, beer running over his eyes. The camera pans to Garner, sitting in studio twiddling a pen with a serious WTF look on his face, then back to Burr.
“It has gone from jubliation to frustration and now it has turned to anger,” he starts again. “People are very angry, the ref is about to call an end to extra time, and it looks like it’s Croatia’s game.”
Burr’s assailant returns from the right, pointing at the reporter and screaming something else about England. Burr drops a cheeky shoulder and shoves the man aside before we flick back to Garner, looking increasingly terrified that breakfasting New Zealanders are about to watch a man being beaten to death.
“Can someone get around Lloyd?” he pleads. “Is there someone in England who can get around Lloyd and look after him? What a bunch of thugs. What a complete thug that guy is.”
And the nation is left to wonder, what happened to Lloyd? He’s fine, it turns out, navigating home through streets filled with rubbish and English flags to his flat and washing machine.
Burr, speaking shortly before getting in the shower, told The Spinoff tensions had been high all week.
“Media is an easy target in these situations when people are annoyed, emotions are high, and we’re an easy target,” he said.
“We were cheering, we had beers, chanting ‘it’s coming home’, just getting amongst. We weren’t trying to cause anything. But people were calling us ‘fake news, corrupt media,’ – they all thought they were Donald Trump. Usually it’s just fake news but this guy took it further.”
And, it turns out, he wasn’t even a Brit.
“Initially I thought look, he’s English, they’ve lost the first semi they’ve been into in forever, fair enough. Then security let him go and he said ‘you guys have been asking for that, you didn’t want England to win, you just came here for the negative stories’ – but he was an Australian.”
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Burr, savouring his new role as a combat reporter, said that after a quick scrub he would return to the streets to assess the scene. After English fans trashed Ikea stores following a win over Sweden, large scale disruptions aren’t totally out of the question.
“I haven’t seen riots in the streets just yet but i wouldn’t be surprised given what happened on Sunday,” said Burr. “That was celebrating; I dunno whats going to happen now they’ve lost. But we’ll go for a look.
“I just hope that Londoners have the maturity to realise that in life you win and you lose, and it’s not the end of the world when you do lose. Surely that’s a lesson you learn in primary.”
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