Eden Hazard jokingly suggested Germany would have been better off focusing on winning rather than protesting over the OneLove armband ban.
The German national team covered their mouths in their team photo as a protest against the decision not to allow them to wear the OneLove captain’s armband — which was a planned anti-discrimination message.
Germany were one of seven European nations set to wear it until FIFA made the threat of sporting sanctions — including a possible yellow card for the captain — clear.
They went on to lose 2-1 on Wednesday to Japan in one of the shock results of the World Cup so far.
And Hazard admitted he had been reluctant to wear the armband after the possibility he would be given a yellow card was made clear.
“Afterwards they lost the match,” Hazard told RMC Sport in jest. “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.
“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.”
Germany head coach Hansi Flick said: “It was a sign, a message that we wanted to send out. We wanted to convey the message that FIFA is silencing us.”
Germany took the choice to be an ally and take on FIFA. It was a powerful, meaningful gesture
(Photo: Getty Images)