Belgium captain Eden Hazard slams Germany for OneLove armband controversy before 2022 FIFA World Cup clash against Japan

Belgium's Eden Hazard not impressed by Germany's gesture before 2022 FIFA World Cup clash against Japan.

Belgium captain Eden Hazard has slammed Germany for their pre-game gesture against Japan after they were told not to sport the 'OneLove' armband at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Belgium were among the teams that planned to wear the 'OneLove' captain's armband as a mark of protest against Qatar's poor track record of LGBTQIA+ rights. However, the Belgian Red Devils abandoned the gesture after FIFA warned that players wearing it would be sanctioned with a warning.

No team has worn the specialized armband in the competition as of now, with England, Wales, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland all abandoning their stance. However, Germany found a way to make a statement ahead of their game against Japan.

Their 11 starting players all posed for the team photo with a hand over their mouths, signifying the way they were kept from expressing their opinion by FIFA. The Germans went on to lose 2-1 to Japan on 23 November despite taking the lead in the 33rd minute via an Ilkay Gundogan penalty kick.

"Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position."Germany make a powerful statement after being denied the chance to wear the OneLove armband at the Qatar World Cup.

Second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano were enough to hand the Samurai Blue an iconic win.

Hazard, who has played for Real Madrid since leaving Chelsea in the summer of 2019, took a sly dig at Die Mannschaft after the full-time whistle. He told reporters (h/t RMC Sport):

"Yes, but afterwards they lost the match. They would have done better not to do it and to win. We are here to play football, I am not here to send a political message. People are better placed for that. We want to be focused on football."

Belgium, meanwhile, won their 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage opener against Canada by a 1-0 scoreline on 23 November.

Belgium captain explains his OneLove armband stance at 2022 FIFA World Cup

Speaking in the same interview, Hazard provided his own reasons for snubbing the 'OneLove' armband at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

German politician Nancy Faeser is wearing the 'OneLove' armband as she sits next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the Germany-Japan match. 🌈

The Belgium winger said he did not want to start the match with a yellow card. It has been said that any player wearing the specific armband will be booked before kick-off. Hazard explained:

"I'm not comfortable talking about it because I'm here to play football. We were banned for a bit… I didn't want to start the match with a yellow card, it would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament. To do it again, maybe I will postpone it."

Hazard will hope to start for Belgium in their next 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage game when they face Morocco on 27 November.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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