Before the game against Wales, the pros were not silent this time. / 2022 World Cup
Iran‘s national soccer players sang along to their national anthem before the World Cup preliminary round match against Wales. In the opening game against England, the team around star striker Sardar Azmoun from Bayer Leverkusen was still silent during the anthem. The decision was seen internationally as a protest against the mullahs’ regime and its brutal crackdown on protesters in Iran.
On Wednesday morning, the Iranians’ lips moved to the music – albeit rather reluctantly, as revealed by one detail: When the anthem sounded, Azmoun first looked to the right at his teammates lined up next to him before he began, with his head bowed, to read the lyrics of the murmuring the national anthem. It seemed as if the 27-year-old “Werkself” attacker wanted to make sure that everyone was really going to sing the anthem.
The reactions in the stands remained the same as the England game: the sound of the Iranian anthem erupted in thunderous applause around the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. Many supporters of Iran cried uncontrollably, holding up national flags and statements of solidarity with the protesters at home.
As TV images broadcast by ARD showed, signs and T-shirts with inscriptions such as “Woman. Life. Freedom” were also taken away from individual visitors by security forces.