Belfast Telegraph

Sweden still smarting over Germany celebrations ahead of crunch Mexico clash

Andersson was fuming with how some of Germany’s backroom team responded to Toni Kroos’ winner.

Janne Andersson has once again criticised Germany for the “scornful” celebrations that followed their late winner against his Sweden team last weekend.

The Swedes reacted angrily to what they perceived to be overly-exuberant and provocative scenes from their opponents near their dugout following Toni Kroos’ last-gasp winner.

Andersson was at the heart of that and, speaking to a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s crunch clash with Mexico, he made no apologies for his reaction.

“If I hadn’t responded there I would have been absolutely dead emotionally,” he said.

“That was scornful. They were taunting us. It had nothing to do with football. On the pitch, there’s emotions, feelings, but unsportsmanlike behaviour against your opponents, that’s not okay.”

Captain Andreas Granqvist admitted that the way some of the Germany staff reacted to Kroos’ winner left a sour taste and he hopes his players will channel their frustration in a positive way against the Mexicans.

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Sweden hope to channel their hurt against Mexico (Frank Augstein/AP)

“I’ve seen the images, we heard from players and leaders afterwards that the behaviour was very poor on behalf of the Germans,” the defender added.

“They did apologise, we dropped it afterwards but, of course, for a few hours afterwards the disappointment was very, very big – not just that we lost the game but how they behaved.

“We show our strength as a team and we hope to get everything out on the pitch tomorrow against Mexico.”

The fall-out from the Germany loss has not just centred on that bust-up, but also on the racist abuse midfielder Jimmy Durmaz has been subjected to.

It was Durmaz who committed the foul on Timo Werner to allow Kroos to score and the 29-year-old, born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who had emigrated from Turkey, was hounded on social media, with threats even made against his family.

Durmaz read a statement to the assembled media on Sunday in front of the squad, who then all uttered “f*** racism” at the end of the speech.

“When we heard after the match that this had occurred, the squad was annoyed,” Granqvist revealed.

“It’s unacceptable – threats of violence, racism, we are against that. As one, we made a very clear stance at training, we don’t accept that sort of behaviour.

“Jimmy is very strong as a person. We’re focusing on the match tomorrow. It does impact us to some extent but I believe we will come out of this as a squad much stronger.  I thought it was good to make a joint statement the day after.”

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Javier Hernandez’s Mexico are not assured of a last-16 place (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

Had Kroos not struck late on against the Swedes, Mexico would already be through.

Yet, despite claiming a maximum six points so far, there remains a possibility they could get knocked out if they lose to Sweden.

“We have six points but never in our minds did we think this was going to be an easy group,” striker Javier Hernandez told a pre-match press conference.

“We still haven’t qualified but who would have said we would have had six points by now in this group? I try to look at things very positively.”

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