What seemed like a harmless selfie with a young fan at the World Cup in Russia has turned into a firestorm for one of Germany’s stars.
The defending World Cup champions’ shock 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening game of the tournament left coach Joachim Low, the players and the country “crestfallen.”
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In the demand to find explanations for the defeat, German anger has been directed at substitute Julian Brandt, whose reaction to the devastating loss has caused outrage in his homeland.
The 22-year-old was photographed smiling while he posed for a selfie with a young supporter in the crowd and it hasn’t gone down well in Germany, with respected newspaper Bild publishing the photo in a heavily critical article against the 22-year-old.
Meanwhile, Julian Brandt took a selfie with a child after the match, which has annoyed Bild.
'Germany spoils the start of the 2018 World Cup – and Julian Brandt (22) has nothing better to do than grinning at a fan-camera…'
This is so English. pic.twitter.com/EjwYmKuOlF
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) June 18, 2018
Plenty of fans have jumped to Brandt’s defence on social media, however.
He respects the fans traveling all the way to Russia to watch them play and made a fans day, despite the poor result.
— Jensmin (@Jensminus) June 17, 2018
Are you effing kidding me??! The kid and Joshua Kimmich were the only ones fighting to score out there. Bild should ask Mesut. Toni, Sami, Thomas and Co where they were because I did not see them today.
— Angie Ubben (@angieubben) June 18, 2018
There is nothing wrong with making your fans happy despite a poor result.
— Tyrell Smith (@JackASmith2) June 18, 2018
Brandt explained afterwards that despite the bitter disappointment of defeat, he only did what he thought was right.
“I wanted to go down the player’s tunnel, then came the little boy and screamed.
“In the second you do not think about it. You do the kid a favour or not. I took the phone and took the selfie.
“I did not think anything of it.”
One of Germany’s greatest players, Lothar Matthaus has also backed the young Bayer Leverkusen winger in the wake of the criticism.
“Julian Brandt was criticised for taking a selfie with a fan after the game. He did a small favour to a kid, so what?” Matthias said.
“I could understand criticism if he was caught drunk at a party in Moscow, but that was a human gesture.”
Germany has a chance to get their World Cup campaign back on track in Sunday’s second Group F match against Sweden, who beat South Korea 1-0 in their opener.