Sweden’s Jimmy Durmaz faced a wave of racial hatred and even death threats after he gave away the foul that led to Toni Kroos’s late winner for Germany at the World Cup.
Abusive comments on the 29-year-old substitute’s Instagram account poured in after Germany won 2-1 in the 95th minute in Sochi on Saturday.
The winger’s teammates came quickly to the defence of Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who emigrated from Turkey.
“No shadow falls over Jimmy, there is nothing bad to say about him. People can’t blame one person. You win as a team and you lose as a team,” midfielder Albin Ekdal told the daily Aftonbladet.
“He ran and fought the entire time. It’s bad luck. It’s completely idiotic to give him hatred because of it,” striker John Guidetti said.
Durmaz, who shrugged off the comments, said he has “always seen hatred on his social media” accounts.
“If you’ve had this your entire life then it’s not a big deal. I’m proud to represent my country,” he said.
The chain of abuse was met with outrage from observers and Durmaz’s fans.
“Crazy people openly raging with racism against Jimmy Durmaz after a football match unfortunately says too much about the world we live in,” Swedish sports journalist Patrick Ekwall tweeted on Sunday.
“Don’t let them get to you! You’re amazing,” a fan wrote on Durmaz’s Instagram account
Sweden face Mexico in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, with the chance to progress to the knockout rounds.