Belgium captain, Eden Hazard, has reacted strongly to the gesture made by Germany prior to their World Cup defeat against Japan.
The German players chose to stand for their team portrait with their hands covering their mouths as they were not allowed to wear the “OneLove” armband.
However, Germany fell to a surprise 2-1 defeat at the hands of Japan afterwards.
Ilkay Gundogan put Hansi Flick’s side ahead in the first half but late goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano gave Japan a shock victory.
Germany now face a tough task to even qualify from Group E after Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0. Germany play Spain in their next match.
Later in the day on Thursday, Belgium got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start against Canada.
And after the match, Hazard had a few strong words for Germany.
“Germany’s gesture?” They would’ve done better if they didn’t do it and tried to win.
“We’re here to play football, I’m not here to convey a political message,” Hazard said.
Eden Hazard on Germany’s symbolic pre-match gesture against Japan 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/lrz8fdDicV
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 24, 2022
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When asked about his decision not to wear the “OneLove” armband, the Belgium skipper admitted he wasn’t comfortable talking about the situation.
“I’m not comfortable talking about it because I’m here to play football,” he added.
“We were banned. I didn’t want to start the match with a yellow card.
“It would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament. To do it again, maybe I will postpone it.”