Belgian star Eden Hazard has weighed in today and made known his feelings on protesting while in service of his country in Qatar in the wake of De Rode Duivels’ 1-0 win over a stubborn Canada at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium last night.
The hard-fought result sees the second-ranked nation in the world climb to the top of Group F to start their 2022 World Cup campaign on the front foot and in stark contrast to Germany’s surprise 2-1 loss to potential dark horse Japan.
Before kick-off, Hansi Flick’s Nationalelf were all seen covering their mouths during their team photo as a sign of protest to the national team being unable to wear their #OneLove armband to bring awareness to diversity during what has been a heavily criticized tournament regarding a myriad of social and political issues inside in Qatar. But for Hazard, Germany made a mistake in focusing on non-footballing matters.
It is certainly a comment that could come with a degree of backlash for Hazard, as many feel as though there is no better time for prominent figures inside football to bring awareness to both domestic and global issues given the power that football has to connect populations from all walks of life.
Germany was adamant about continuing to speak out against inequality and in support of diversity while bringing human rights to the fore of a World Cup that has looked the other way on such a monumental issue that has defined the winter tournament.
In a statement from their official Twitter account, the DFB defended their actions before Germany’s clash with Japan; “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard. It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”