Sweden’s World Cup squad has rallied behind one of their players, after he was racially abused for giving away the free kick that led to Germany’s winning goal.
Jimmy Durmaz and the rest of the Sweden squad took a powerful stand against racism as the nation’s football association made complaints of online abuse on behalf of the winger to police.
Substitute Durmaz conceded the free-kick that was dispatched by Toni Kroos in injury time in Sweden’s agonising 2-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup on Saturday.
The 29-year-old was later targeted on social media, and on Sunday the Sweden squad stood behind Durmaz as he read a statement before shouting “f*** racism” in unison.
Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents, said: “I am a footballer at the highest level so I have to accept that I am criticised for what I do on the pitch.
“That’s part of the job – and I am always willing to accept that. But there are limits and that limit was passed yesterday.
“What is even worse, when they go after my family and my children and threaten them. Who the hell does that kind of thing?
“I am Swedish and I am proud to represent the Swedish national team – it is the biggest thing you can do as a footballer. I will never let any racists destroy my pride. We all have to make a stand against racism.
“At the same time I want to thank everyone who has been supportive and showed their love – it means an awful lot. Please, continue to support Sweden. We need you.”
Earlier in the day, general secretary Hakan Sjostrand confirmed the Swedish FA had reported the abuse to police on behalf of the player.
“A number of complaints have been made with the Swedish FA as the plaintiff so that Jimmy can concentrate on what he is here to do – play football. But Durmaz is fully behind the complaints,” Sjostrand said via a statement.
“We do not tolerate a player being subjected to threats or abuse. It’s uncomfortable and very upsetting to see the treatment that Jimmy Durmaz has had to put up with. Completely unacceptable.”