Sweden’s players and coaches stood against the deluge of racist attacks faced by teammate Jimmy Durmaz after the midfielder committed a foul that led to their 2-1 World Cup loss to Germany Saturday.
Durmaz, who is of Turkish and Syrian descent, fouled German striker Timo Werner in the final minute of stoppage time, leading to the game-winning free kick. The Swedish side looked to be headed for a 1-1 draw with the Germans until Durmaz, who’d come on as a sub late in the game, brought down Werner on the edge of the box. Toni Kroos lifted Germany to the stunning victory on the subsequent free kick.After the game, Durmaz’s social media accounts were bombarded with racist insults and death threats
According to Reuters, at Sweden’s training session on Sunday, Durmaz read a statement to the media as his teammates stood behind him.
“I am a footballer at the highest level, being criticized is something we live with, but being called ‘f***ing immigrant’ and ‘suicide bomber’, and having death threats made against me and my children is completely unacceptable,” Durmaz said. “I am Swedish, and with pride I wear our shirt and our flag. I want to thank the fine, wonderful people who spread joy. It warms us all. We stand united, we are Sweden.”
The entire Swedish squad reportedly then shouted “f*** racism” in unison, before leaving to begin their training session.