Tuesday 25 September 2018

Swedish tempers cool down after Germany say sorry for provocative celebration

Guidetti: Late heartbreak. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Guidetti: Late heartbreak. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Mark Critchley

Pontus Jansson and John Guidetti revealed that Germany apologised to Sweden in Sochi on Saturday night after their over-exuberant celebrations following their late 2-1 win.

Two members of Germany's World Cup party were captured goading the Swedish bench after Toni Kroos' free-kick, in the final minute of stoppage time, made the difference. Their celebrations provoked scuffles between the two benches once the final whistle had blown.

Germany's dramatic victory brought the World Cup holders back from the brink of likely elimination and means there is everything to play for in Group F, with all four teams retaining hopes of qualification.

Janne Andersson, the Sweden head coach, complained about Germany's conduct after the final whistle but Leeds United's Jansson, one of those who led the protests, said Germany had apologised.

"That's how it is in football, especially when it ends like this, with a goal," he said when asked about the incident. "There were a lot of emotions from them and from us, also. Some of them said too much.

"That's a normal reaction from us. We were angry of course. I like to see that. Maybe bad from them but that's how it is.

"I haven't had anything said to me personally but some of them said sorry to us after the game. It was disrespectful at the time, to celebrate like that. But if they said sorry, it's OK," the 27-year-old defender added when asked about the incident.

"For them it is was a really important goal, of course. But you should celebrate in your own half, not be disrespectful to your opponents. That's how it is."

Guidetti, the former Manchester City and Celtic striker, concurred. "We thought they did wrong, but they have apologised for their mistake and that's it," he said.

"You shouldn't celebrate the way they did in front of our bench. You can celebrate with your own fans. Don't celebrate in front of our bench like that. That's why they apologised, because they know they did wrong."

The post-match apologies were followed by an official one. A statement on the German national team's official Twitter account read: "It was an emotional game. In the end, one or the other reaction or gesture of our caregiver staff towards the Swedish bench was too emotional.

"That is not our style. That's what we apologised to the Swedish coach & his team [for]," the statement added.

For Sweden, defeat means victory is required in their final Group F game against Mexico in order to guarantee qualification.

"(It's) all in our hands," Jansson said. "Mexico is a good team but South Korea had chances to beat them. We have a chance, and a good chance. It's tough to lose like this. But we played well. We have to reload, recover and focus on Mexico."

Irish Independent

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