How Iran players stood in support with protesters during England v Iran match

FIFA World Cup 2022

The second day of FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar saw something enticing and wonderful. As Iran is currently witnessing nothing short of a civil uprising against the regime with violent crackdown on protesters by authorities attracting global condemnation, the Iranian football players did something that screamed their support to protesters back home, though silently. Before the beginning of day 2 match between Iran and England, Iranian players declined to sing along as the national anthem played – they displayed their silent protest in form of pursed lips, locked shoulders and bowed heads.

But one thing was also sure as the Iranian players displayed their protest at the Khalifa International Stadium – they and their families might have to pay a heavy price soon back home. But they remained defiant and still, pressing one fact that this time the wave of protest against the Iranian regime isn’t going to die anytime soon.

The players on field weren’t the only one showing protest against Tehran. Many Iranian women among the spectators were seen sporting T-shirts with the phrase “Woman, Life, Freedom”, a slogan that has become the rallying cry for protestors in Iran and beyond since 22 year old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish Iranian woman died in hospital while in police custody for not wearing the headscarf correctly. Many women also wore skirts and dresses, sang songs and smiled – the simple freedoms that they are denied back home.

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Iranian fans in the stadium could also be heard chanting “Ali Karimi” in reference to the former Iranian footballer who is one of the most outspoken critics of the Islamic Republic and a major face of the protests.

Speaking before the game, Iranian captain Ehsan Hajsafi said the players “support” those who have died. Manager Carlos Queiroz also said his players were “free to protest over women’s rights in their home country as long as it conforms with the World Cup regulations and is in the spirit of the game”.

The team fought hard against England, but were no match to the champions. They managed to score two goals against the six goals by England team in a match that went little beyond 90 minutes.



Alaina is a young writer passionate about sharing her work with the world. She has a strong interest in new writing styles and is always trying to find ways to be more creative.

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