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FIFA World Cup: Sweden Players Join Hands With Durmaz After Racist Abuse

Online abuse directed at winger Jimmy Durmaz for conceding freekick that allowed Germany to score the injury-time winner vs Sweden at FIFA World Cup.
Sweden's Jimmy Durmaz and Timo Werner of Germany at FIFA World Cup.

Sweden's Jimmy Durmaz (right) fouled Timo Werner of Germany, and Toni Kroos scored from the resultant freekick five minutes into stoppage time in their FIFA World Cup game (Pix: IANS)

Jimmy Durmaz was subjected to racist abuse on social media following Sweden’s 1-2 loss to Germany at the FIFA World Cup on June 23. Durmaz, born in Sweden to Assyrian parents, conceded the freekick which led to Toni Kroos’ injury-time winner.

Sweden players took a stand against racism while the Swedish football association filed a police complaint against the online abuse of its player.

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Durmaz, who came in as a substitute late in the second half, fouled Timo Werner. The resultant freekick was curled in by  Kroos five minutes into stoppage time.

A day after the match Sweden players stood behind Durmaz, who read a statement before shouting "f*** racism" in unison.

"I am a footballer at the highest level so I have to accept that I am criticised for what I do on the pitch,” said Durmaz. "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?”

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Durmaz insisted he is Swedish and playing the World Cup for the national team is the biggest achievement of his career.

"I am Swedish and I am proud to represent the Swedish national team,” he said. “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."

As far as the tournament is concerned, Kroos' winner has kept Germany's campaign alive. The defending champs can progress to the last 16 if they match Sweden's result in the final group game. Mexico need a draw against Sweden to qualify, while the Swedes will go through if they better Germany's result against South Korea.

(With agency inputs)

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