Janne Andersson has hit out at Germany’s “taunting and unsportsmanlike behaviour” following their last-gasp victory over Sweden on Saturday but hopes that incident, along with the solidarity shown towards Jimmy Durmaz, will galvanise his squad for Wednesday’s crunch game with Mexico.
Andersson was embroiled in angry scenes when members of the Germany bench opted to race along the touchline to celebrate Toni Kroos’ 95th-minute winner – a goal that significantly altered the complexion of Group F.
The German Football Association subsequently apologised but Andersson remained unimpressed when asked about the episode on Tuesday.
Andersson said: “It was scornful, they were taunting us, it had nothing to do with football.
“On the pitch it’s fine to have emotions, but unsporting behaviour against your opponent is not okay.”
Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist added: “I didn’t see what happened, I was still on the pitch but I have seen the images and have heard from the players and the coaching staff that the behaviour from the Germans was very poor.
“The disappointment was very big, not just at the fact we lost the game, but also the way they behaved.”
A more serious fall-out from the Germany game was the racist abuse and threats directed at Durmaz and his family on social media.
Durmaz, born in Sweden to Assyrian parents, gave away the free-kick from which Kroos powered home Germany’s dramatic late goal.
The Toulouse winger responded by reading a statement before training on Sunday in which he said a line had been crossed and outlined his love for Sweden, with the rest of the squad standing behind him in a show of support.
Andersson acknowledged it had been a turbulent few days but said there was now a “positive atmosphere” in the squad.
“Turbulent yes, very much so when we heard about this [the abuse] and then we made our joint statement,” he said.
“After that it’s important to move on. In Jimmy’s world it’s been part of his thinking. I think he’s found the right balance and there’s a positive atmosphere [in the squad] with a lot of positive energy.”
— Svensk Elitfotboll (@SEF_Elitfotboll) June 25, 2018
Granqvist added: “When we heard that this had occurred, the squad was annoyed. It’s unacceptable to have threats of violence and racism, we are against that as one and made a very clear stance.
“Jimmy is very strong but it does impact us to a certain extent. We will come out of this stronger as a squad. It was right to make a joint statement the day after.
“We gave Jimmy all the support he needs, he appreciated that and he’s focused on the events ahead. We are now even stronger, and we stand up for what’s right.”
Andersson will be keen to ensure the off-field issues are now put to one side to give Sweden the best chance of progressing to the next phase.
They go into the final match in the group in third place, level on three points with Germany and three behind leaders Mexico.
Realistically, Sweden need a win to progress and Andersson is confident it can be achieved in Ekaterinburg.
“We have a very good feeling in the squad, we showed on Saturday that we are able to play against the reigning champions all the way apart from the final 10 seconds,” he said.
“That match made us stronger and more confident. We have everything to gain tomorrow so from that perspective mentally, we are very strong, we believe in what we do.
“Mexico are a very good team, we have the utmost respect for them. They are a very skilled team with several technically-gifted players but when we’ve played the toughest matches we have played really well.”
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