Sweden praise De Rossi for boarding bus to apologise for Italy fans' whistles
Daniele De Rossi boarded the Sweden bus following Italy's World Cup playoff defeat in Milan on Monday to apologise for the whistles heard during the Swedish national anthem.
Sweden's national anthem was drowned out by whistles from many of the 74,000 fans inside the San Siro. Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon and several other members of the side responded by applauding the anthem in a show of respect.
Humble in defeat, De Rossi boarded Sweden's bus before it departed the San Siro and delivered his apologies for the uncivil behaviour of many Italian fans inside the stadium and to wish the team well at the World Cup.
"It's true -- huge respect!" Sweden defender Andreas Granqvist told Aftonbladet of De Rossi's actions. "We thanked him. It was a great gesture from such a big player after they missed out on the World Cup."
De Rossi also said sorry for the conduct of some of Italy's players during a physical first leg in Sweden.
"He congratulated us and apologised for the way some of the players behaved during the game in Stockholm and for the fans booing during our national anthem in the return leg," Leeds defender Pontus Jansson told Expressen.
"The whole mood in the bus was like, 'wow, did this just happen?' It was one of the nicest moments I've experienced in a long time, actually. What a gentleman. A great person, and a true captain."
Sweden coach Janne Andersson said he was not on the bus when it happened, but appreciated the gesture.
"Very nicely done," he said. "That's sport when it's at its finest. You take the fight to each other on the pitch and it can be a smaller war, but after you shake hands. I have great respect for the type of behaviour that De Rossi showed."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.