Only two Germany players backed hand-over-mouth protest at World Cup: report

Captain Neuer and Leon Goretzka were the only two players who supported the protest in Qatar over FIFA’s banning of the OneLove armbands.

The majority of Germany’s football players did not support the team’s controversial hand-over-the-mouth protest during its opening game at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a report by German media.

Captain Neuer and Leon Goretzka were the only two who supported the protest in Qatar, which targeted FIFA’s banning of the OneLove armbands during the World Cup, German public broadcaster ARD reported, citing Bild.

Other members of the team, however, were opposed to the move.

The gesture had been debated among the team, with the hand-on-mouth move being backed by Joshua Kimmich and eventually being picked as the ultimate protests move despite a lack of consensus among the team.

Captains of several European teams had planned to wear the armbands but dropped the gesture after FIFA announced that players would receive a yellow card for the political gesture.

Described as “the German embarrassment” at the World Cup, the protest was widely criticised, with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger most recently taking aim at the Germans.

“You know when you go to a World Cup, you know you can’t lose the first game. The teams who have the experience to perform in tournaments like France and England played well in the first game,” Wenger said.

“The teams who were mentally ready, with a mindset to focus on competition, and not the political demonstrations.”

The German Football Association, or Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB), has come under fire by a former German football player and pundit, Lothar Matthäus, accusing it of lack of clarity on the armband protest debacle.

“The DFB negligently failed to make a clear decision in time so that the focus could be on football,” he said in an article for Bild am Sonntag.

The director of the national team, Oliver Bierhoff, was also criticised by Matthäus for his incompetence in his role as managing the team.

“So you have to ask if he’s still the right one!” Matthäus said.

Mentioning no further details of the time and place, the report said the sporting leadership of the German national team under Bierhoff and head coach Hansi Flick will have to provide an explanation of the internal predicament at the behest of the association’s president Bernd Neuendorf.

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