German soccer fans at a World Cup qualifier Monday night rejected the behavior of far-right supporters who chanted Nazi slogans at a match last week that garnered widespread criticism from both players and officials.
The ugly scenes from Friday’s draw against Czech Republic in Prague where a group of 200 right-wing German soccer hooligans chanted Nazi-era slogans at players and rival supporters were not repeated in Monday’s game against Norway in Stuttgart. Instead, fans gave a standing ovation to German striker Timo Werner who had been the subject of some of the hateful chants.
“That showed the beautiful side of football,” said head coach Joachim Loew of Monday’s game, who had said Friday’s scenes in Prague “shamed Germany.”
Werner netted twice as Germany routed Norway 6-0 in the 2018 World Cup qualifier, but Loew’s team must wait until next month to confirm their Russia 2018 place.
The world champions have won all eight of their qualifiers so far to top Group C and are unbeaten in their last 17 games, dating back to their defeat against France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Defender Mats Hummels, who scored the winning goal in that game, branded those responsible, “hooligans who have nothing to do with football fans.”
The 200-strong group managed to get hold of tickets in a fan block meant for home supporters from a local ticketing outlet in Prague.
The head of the German soccer association, DFB President Reinhard Grindel, May 2017. (Screencapture: YouTube/RT Deutsch)
Following the game, world soccer’s governing body FIFA said it was considering opening an investigation into the incident, and Reinhard Grindel, the head of the German soccer association (DFB) said he wanted to impose tighter ticketing controls for international matches
On Monday, Grindel said he was pleased to see a very different response from fans.
“It was a really joyful, spirited atmosphere. It was an evening of football [soccer] as you’d wish it,” Grindel said.