Star Victory signing Toivonen revels in World Cup memories

Ola Toivonen in action for Sweden during the World Cup Source: Getty Images

New Melbourne Victory signing Ola Toivonen scored against reigning champions Germany at the World Cup, but that's not his biggest highlight from Russia.

Nor was reaching the last eight of the tournament with Sweden.

The towering striker nominates his side's reaction from a moment of hardship as his fondest memory from the 2018 tournament.

"The biggest memory I'd take is (after) Germany beating us 2-1, one teammate got a lot of racist abuse after the game," he said.

"We had a decisive game three days later against Mexico. We did a terrific game, won 3-0 and advanced to the round of 16.

"Those four days (between matches) will be in my memories for a long time.

"How the group came together. There really was one group."

The hateful abuse of Jimmy Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to migrant parents, was a defining feature of Sweden's triumphant campaign in Russia.

Swedish fans abused Durmaz - Toivonen's teammate for both club and country at the time - after conceding a late foul against Germany.

Toni Kroos would score from the free kick, giving the Germans a 2-1 last gasp win that might have cost Sweden progression from the knockout rounds.

The Swedish FA referred online threats towards Durmaz and his family to the police.

Football fans mounted a strong defence of the 29-year-old on social media, and the team responded on the pitch to recover their best World Cup since a third-place finish in 1994.

Toivonen started each of Sweden's five games, scoring once - against Germany.

"That was a childhood dream coming through," he said.

"The whole experience of the World Cup was something I'm going to take with me for a whole time.

"I played one Euro and one World Cup for Sweden and I'm extremely proud of it."

Toivonen retired from international football after the tournament, having amassed 64 caps and 14 goals.

Source AAP