September 4 – German coach Joachim Low and his players have denounced a hardcore section of fans for their disgraceful pro-Nazi chanting during Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.
Supporters were heard shouting ‘Sieg Hail’ (‘Hail Victory’) and whistling during the pre-match minute’s silence in Prague to commemorate the death of two Czech officials.
After the game Germany’s players chose to snub their travelling supporters with Mats Hummels – who headed home the decider in a 2-1 win – branding the culprits “trouble-makers and hooligans”.
The chanting co-incided with the anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, which started World War II, and Low was furious.
“’I’m extremely disappointed about what happened. I’m full of anger and very much shaken to see that some so-called fans use football, and an international match, for their deplorable demonstrations. They bring shame on our country.”
“We don’t want them, we’re not their national team, and they’re not our fans. Given our history, it’s very important for us to represent our country in a dignified fashion and its values of tolerance, respect and openness to the world. These troublemakers demean this image,” he said.
“The chants were a catastrophe – really bad,” said Hummels. “We distance ourselves completely from it and want nothing to do with it. That’s why we didn’t go (to the away fans). These people aren’t fans, they are trouble-makers, hooligans who have nothing to do with football fans.”
German Football Association president Reinhard Grindel said he was proud of the “fine sense” the team showed in making a stand and that a group of German fans had managed to buy tickets without the association’s consent.
“We will never tolerate fascist, racist, insulting or homophobic battle cries,” said Grindel.
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