• World Cup 2022

Hazard criticizes Germany for pre-match protest against FIFA

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The Mannschaft made a gesture against FIFA’s decision to ban the OneLove armband.

Eden Hazard believes Germany should have stuck to football instead of politics before their shock defeat against Japan.

German players covered their mouths in protest during their pre-match team photo. The gesture was a response to FIFA’s action against the OneLove campaign. 

The World Cup officials forced the participating teams to cancel their plans to wear captain armbands in support of the campaign. 

German players received praise for raising awareness about the matter. But Hazard speculates it might’ve contributed to their surprise defeat against the Samurai Blues.

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“They lost the match,” the Belgian forward told reporters. “They would have been better off not doing it and winning. 

“We’re here to play football. I’m not here to pass on a political message, there are people who are better placed for that. We want to concentrate on the football.”

Germany went ahead through Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the first half. However, Japan shocked them with a brilliant attacking display after the break.

Die Mannschaft are now in a difficult position to keep their qualification hopes alive. Next up, Hansi Flick’s side must lock horns with Spain, who smashed Costa Rica 7-0 in their Group E opener on Wednesday.