Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Germany lost focus at the World Cup with their political demonstrations. The defending World Cup champions Germany covered their mouths in the team photo before their opening match against Japan to protest FIFA’s ban on OneLove armbands, and they were eliminated from the competition in the group stage for the second time in a row. The decision was made after FIFA warned that the German football association (DFB) would suffer “major” sporting consequences if captain Manuel Neuer wore the rainbow armband for the match against Japan. Players from all over the world don the armband, which advocates for inclusiveness and diversity.
The armband was also not worn by a number of other countries, including England, Wales, and the Netherlands. FIFA did not punish Germany for their pre-game gesture, although Wenger, the organization’s head of global football development, claimed that Germany may have lost concentration.
“You are aware that you cannot lose the opening match when you attend a World Cup. The first game was well played by the teams with the ability to compete in tournaments, such as France and England,” Arsene Wenger said about Germany at the World Cup. “The teams that were mentally prepared and had a mindset centered on the competition rather than the political protests.”
Throughout the World Cup in Qatar, teams have engaged in substantial political discussion, with some bringing up concerns including the host country’s treatment of migrant workers, its stance on LGBTQ+ rights, and FIFA’s threats to penalize players for holding political views. The German Football Association (FA) made the most vocal requests for the wearing of anti-discrimination “OneLove” armbands by players, stating that Germany, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Wales, England, and Switzerland withdrew their intentions due to “extreme blackmail.” In the VIP section, Nancy Faeser, the interior minister of Germany, was seated close to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, and was wearing a OneLove armband to show her support for the squad.
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