Stockholm (AFP) – Sweden’s Sports Minister Annika Strandhall wore a Jimmy Durmaz football jersey in parliament on Wednesday in support of Sweden’s World Cup player who faced a wave of racial attacks after a defeat against Germany at the weekend.
Sweden was due to meet Mexico in a make-or-break final Group F match on Wednesday at 1400 GMT.
In a show of solidarity, Strandhall posted on Instagram and Facebook a photo of herself wearing a blue and yellow jersey bearing Durmaz’s name and number 21, and wrote the hashtag #viarsverige (“we are Sweden”).
Durmaz was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who emigrated from Turkey.
Teammates came quickly to the 29-year-old midfielder’s defence after his Instagram account saw a storm of racial abuse and threats after his foul led to Toni Kroos’s late free-kick that handed Germany a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Swedish media also published a photo of Strandhall wearing the jersey as she took part in a parliamentary session.
On Sunday, she came out in defence of Durmaz, who plays for Toulouse, on her Instagram account.
“Getting angry and upset is fully understandable. But allowing this to turn into racial and hateful insults towards one single player is unjustifiable,” Strandhall wrote.
Sweden faces Mexico in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, with the chance to progress to the knockout rounds.