Four days before Iran enter the fray against England in Qatar, it’s time to talk about the ball. “We are focused on playing football. Since I was little I dreamed of playing for the national team and it’s the same for the rest of the group. We are here to respect the jersey and our national team, to bring joy to the Iranian people. The question of celebration is a personal decision, unique to each player.” explained Iranian captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
“We are four days away from the most important match of our lives and we are focused on the World Cup“, he added in a press conference. Also asked about the possibility for Iranian players not to sing the national anthem to show their support for the demonstrators, Jahanbakhsh indicated that the question was in “discussions“and that a decision would be made”collectively“.
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“The Most Important Tournament”
For his part, goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand also said that the decision to celebrate or not a goal was “personal” and that the players of Team Melli were “focused on the most important tournament of their career and wanted to bring joy to the Iranians and pass the first round for the first time in their history“.
A harshly suppressed protest movement has rocked the Islamic Republic since the death two months ago of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd arrested for violating a strict dress code that requires women to wear the Islamic veil in public . Several Iran national team players have expressed their support for the uprising on social media, wearing black wristbands during matches or refusing to sing the national anthem.
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The star of “Team Melli”, Sardar Azmoun, had thus been talked about for having in several messages on social networks expressed his support for the protest movement and denounced the repression in his country.
Iran are due to start their World Cup on November 21 against England in Group B. They are then due to face Wales on November 25 and the United States on November 29, in a rematch of the historic match between these two countries in of the 1998 World Cup.
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