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World Cup news: Sonny Bill Williams in Qatar, fan backlash after soccer mention

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Sonny Bill Williams has unwittingly stirred up the hornets nest after sharing a photo from the World Cup in Qatar.

The code-hopping star triggered another clash between fans on social media over whether it is fitting to refer to the round ball game as “football” or “soccer”.

Williams clearly had no idea about the issue as he shared his experience from inside the Al Bayt Stadium, watching on as France set up a final against Lionel Messi’s Argentina with a 2-0 win over Morocco on Thursday.

Williams was cheering on Morocco, the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, when he made what some fans would describe as a faux pas on Twitter.

In a tweet where he tagged Socceroos great Mark Bosnich, Williams wrote: “Such a special atmosphere tonight, are all soccer games like this?”

However, some of his 925,000 fans called him put for failing to refer to the game as football.

The debate had raged earlier this month with some fans calling for the Australian national team’s name to be changed from the Socceroos to something else. It has long been a point of contention that Australia has largely not adapted to following the rest of the world — outside of North America — in calling the game “football”.

Williams clearly couldn’t care less despite his tweet receiving a flood of messages from divided fans.

He earlier wrote: “Special to see so many Moroccan flags and jerseys while out and about in Doha today”.

The 37-year-old also clearly enjoyed the spectacle and settled in to watch the Kylian Mbappe show as the French superstar put on a masterclass against the Moroccan defenders.

“Watching the game live, I can see why @KMbappe is special,” he wrote.

“Grateful to have been able 2 travel around the world to watch the Moroccan brothers play. Mashallah that was a special atmosphere. Congratulations to the French team — too good tonight in Doha.”

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