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Eden Hazard takes aim at Germany for protest of FIFA's OneLove armband ban before shock Japan defeat

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‘We’re here to play football, not deliver a political message’: Belgian Eden Hazard takes aim at Germany for covering their mouths in protest of FIFA’s ban on OneLove bracelet for shock defeat to Japan

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Eden Hazard appeared critical of Germany’s gesture ahead of their game with Japan in which the starting eleven covered their mouths after being banned from wearing the ‘One love’ armband to denounce the threat of FIFA sanctions.

The Real Madrid striker claimed the four-time World Cup winners could have had a greater impact if they had focused more on winning the game than making a statement in the game. RMC Sports.

Players had been warned about wearing OneLove bracelets promoting inclusivity at a tournament held in a country with a questionable human rights record, and Hazard admitted he didn’t want to risk an automatic yellow card to get.

“Yes, but then they lost the game,” Hazard said when asked his opinion of the German side’s gesture on Wednesday.

They would have been better off not doing it and winning. We are here to play football, I am not here to give a political signal.

‘People are better placed for that. We want to focus on football.’

Several European countries, including England and Wales, were willing to wear OneLove bracelets during the tournament to promote inclusiveness in football.

Eden Hazard claimed that Germany should have concentrated on football against Japan

Eden Hazard claimed that Germany should have concentrated on football against Japan

German players covered their mouths in response to the threat of sports sanctions

German players covered their mouths in response to the threat of sports sanctions

German players covered their mouths in response to the threat of sports sanctions

But on the eve of England’s opener against Iran on Monday, FIFA ruled that those wearing the armbands would face sporting sanctions, forcing teams to revert to regular armbands.

However, the German side of Hansi Flick quickly took the initiative into their own hands and issued a statement of their own to show their feelings about this.

While Germany lost their game opener in shocking circumstances, Hazard’s Belgium narrowly avoided a similar fate against Canada.

Despite Divock Origi’s only goal of the game at the end of the first half, Canada dominated the tie.

Star player Alphonso Davies missed an early penalty, which proved to be his side’s best chance, with a wayward finish and lack of composure in the final third, the only thing separating Belgium from an embarrassing opening result.

Players who ignored FIFA’s ruling were warned that one of the penalties they could face would be starting matches with a yellow card to their name.

Belgium struggled on Wednesday with their 1-0 victory over Canada in their tournament opener

Belgium struggled on Wednesday with their 1-0 victory over Canada in their tournament opener

Belgium struggled on Wednesday with their 1-0 victory over Canada in their tournament opener

While under normal circumstances a warning might not seem like too severe a penalty in exchange for spreading a message of solidarity, players will be suspended for one match if they receive consecutive yellow cards.

“I don’t like talking about it because I’m here to play football,” added Hazard.

‘We were suspended for a while… I didn’t want to start the game with a yellow card, that would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament.

“To do it again, I might put it off.”


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