‘Disgrace’: Australian fans go too far
THE online abuse of Socceroos winger Robbie Kruse and his family has been slammed by his teammates and sporting commentators.
Kruse has been vilified on social media for his performances at the World Cup in Russia, receiving threats of violence among other abuse which has spread to his family.
Kruse's parents have shut down their Facebook account, while the Socceroos in Russia rally around their teammate.
Speaking on Offsiders this morning, Tracey Holmes the people criticising Kruse had "probably never kicked a ball before".
"At the end of the day, it's just a sport when you think about it. We are here to entertain and do a job and Kruse is a true professional," she said.
"Everyone is grown-up enough now to understand what happens on social media and I think, for the team, not one single player goes out there to play less than their best.
"We need to bear this in mind. The keyboard warriors, you put them aside to one place and if his parents don't log on to Facebook for a couple of weeks or a couple of days, that's fine and it's just how we learn to deal with the world we live in these days."
ABC columnist Richard Hinds defended Kruse's record, saying playing in the Champions League "doesn't happen by accident".
"He's a great player. He's played at a massive club at Bayer Leverkusen. The quality is there. He's in the starting 11," Hinds said.
SBS World Cup host Lucy Zelic said: "It's not the Australian way, it should never be the Australian way.
"These men are out there representing our country, pull your heads in."
SBS football analyst Craig Foster called it a "disgrace".
"You can attack performances, the decisions, but it's got nothing to do with the person themselves."
TEAMMATES DEFEND KRUSE
"For his own people, for Australians, to be slagging off - it's not OK," teammate Mathew Leckie told reporters on Saturday in Kazan.
"It's never good for any player to cop that sort of stuff so, hopefully, it tones down."
Leckie said Kruse remained in good spirits but had been stunned by the waves of criticism.
"He is, I guess, shocked," Leckie said.
"It's just disappointing - not just for him, but for all players.
"We're representing Australia. And the people back home that are saying bad things, it's understandable that they might like (some) players more than other players.
"But it doesn't give anyone the right to abuse a player."
Socceroos defender Aziz Behich said the critics of Kruse were misguided.
"It's people that just sit behind a computer that probably have never kicked a ball before," Behich told reporters.
"So it's a bit disappointing. It has no part in our game.
"The people that criticise, I don't think they actually watch the game and how hard he works."
The 29-year-old Kruse has long been a whipping boy of Socceroos fans despite a successful career which has included a stint with German giants Bayer Leverkusen.
Kruse has also overcome a series of serious injuries, including a knee reconstruction, which had denied him a spot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The veteran, with 66 international caps, also suffered an achilles injury in Australia's 2015 Asian Cup triumph.
"What he has been through in his career with injuries and setbacks … a lot of players would have crumbled a long time ago," Behich said.
"So it shows just the character he has got … he is a champion and we will be behind him." Leckie said Kruse had proven his significance to the Socceroos time and again. "(Hopefully) people can understand the reason why he is playing - there is obviously a reason behind it," Leckie said.
"He's not playing because the coach has a private liking to him. "He does do many things on the pitch that people don't see so I think it's just a bit unfair."
- With AAP