By James Masters, CNN
RUSSIA – Sweden’s Jimmy Durmaz was subjected to a torrent of online racist abuse in the aftermath of his side’s dramatic World Cup defeat by reigning champion Germany Saturday.
The 29-year-old substitute was targeted after giving away a free kick deep into stoppage time that led to Toni Kroos firing home a spectacular German winner.
Durmaz, born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who had emigrated from Turkey, played down the abuse that had appeared on his Instagram account after the 2-1 defeat.
“It’s nothing I’m bothered about,” he told reporters. “I’m here proud and representing my country.”
Durmaz’s teammate John Guidetti hit out at those responsible for the racist posts.
“He ran and fought the whole game, it’s unlucky — it’s completely idiotic to subject him to hate for that,” Guidetti told reporters.
Sweden had taken a first-half lead against Germany courtesy of Ola Toivonen’s neat finish.
Defeat for Germany, which lost its opening group game against Mexico, would have led to it failing to make it past the opening round for the first time since 1938.
But Marco Reus equalized soon after the break to drag Germany level, and even though the Germans were reduced to 10 men when Jerome Boateng was sent off for two yellow cards, the reigning champions prevailed.
Kroos’ late strike led to angry scenes between the two benches, with Sweden coach Janne Andersson accusing Germany of taunting his side.
“Some of them celebrated in a disrespectful way in my opinion,” Swedish substitute Pontus Jansson told reporters.
“There was a lot of feelings, we had just let in a goal and lost the game, so it was pretty sour.
“Maybe there was unnecessary anger (from me), but they apologized afterward so it’s just a case of accepting it. There were a lot of feelings in the heat of the moment.”