QATAR: All eyes were on Germany’s “OneLove” armband protest ahead of the high-octane clash between Spain and Germany, two European superpowers.
In support of freedom of speech, Germany players cupped their mouths during the team photo during their first match against Japan.
During Germany’s World Cup match against Spain, Qatari fans held up pictures of Mesut Ozil while covering their mouths with their hands. The German footballers had made the same gesture before their shocking loss to Japan in the first game.
Football fans had urged the Germans to concentrate on the game following the appalling defeat to Japan. In contrast, others lamented the double standards with which they treated former player Mesut Ozil.
The coordinated display was obviously in light of German players’ signal on Wednesday when they covered their mouths to challenge FIFA following the administering body’s clampdown on the “One Love” armband.
The fans’ gesture was a reaction to FIFA prohibiting seven European groups’ arrangements to wear armbands, an act viewed by many as a rebuke to host nation Qatar and its objectionable human rights record.
On Sunday, Qatari fans referred to Germany’s questionable treatment of Mesut Ozil, the former German national team player who quit after becoming the target of racist abuse and a scapegoat for Germany’s early exit from the World Cup in 2018.
In 2018, days after Germany returned home after the team’s humiliating World Cup campaign, Reinhard Grindel, the president of the German football association (DFB), demanded a public statement from Mesut Ozil.
The Arsenal star had met Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before the marquee event, which triggered the move from Grindel.
Having received the cap 93 times for his country, Ozil delivered a three-part explanation soon after the 2018 controversy. He elaborated on his meeting with Erdogan and the subsequent criticism.
After that, the ex-Arsenal star slammed Grindel and announced his retirement from international play.
Fans present against Spain were mocking the apparent double standards of Germany’s treatment of Ozil, presently 34.