At least Neuer finally fulfilled his dream of being an midfielder.
One of the assistant referees checks Manuel Neuer’s kit, confirming he is wearing the FIFA-approved armband under his shirt.
The armband has been used as a message of support and unity, especially for the LGBTQ+ community with England, Wales, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Denmark also set to join with Team DFB.
However, Fifa made a last-minute decision to ban the accessory – and threatened captains with yellow cards or even one-match suspensions prompting a U-turn from all seven countries.
It saw captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer walk out with the regular generic ‘No Discrimination’ version instead – but linesman Zachari Zeegelaar was forced to check nonetheless.
However, the armband ban didn’t stop Germany from staging a protest.
That includes Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who was in the stadium to witness the silent stand first hand.
Germany’s official team Twitter account said: “It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case.
“That’s why this message is so important to us.”Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.
“We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect.
German players covered their mouths in a protest against the decision to not allow nations to wear the OneLove captain’s armband at the World Cup.
The German national team took the strongest stance yet before their match against Japan, covering their mouths in their pre-team picture in protest of the decision. A referee could also be seen checking Manuel Neuer’s armband to ensure he was wearing the one issued by FIFA. Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior and Community of Germany, could be seen wearing the armband in the crowd.
WHAT THEY SAID: Germany released a Twitter thread explaining the gesture, which stated that they wanted to express values close to the German national team, and that FIFA not allowing them to do so was denying them a voice.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable,” they said regarding the armband.
“That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”