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Iran players sing national anthem amidst reports their families' lives were threatened

Ryan Sidle

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| Last updated 

Iran players sing national anthem amidst reports their families' lives were threatened

Iran players sang their national anthem, ahead of the World Cup decider with USA, after reports that their families lives were under threat.

There has been civil unrest in Iran in recent months, with protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after being arrested for wearing an 'improper' hijab.

Ahead of the World Cup, it was an issue that followed the national team going into the tournament, with manager Carlos Queiroz showing his annoyance at being asked about the subject.

The players showed their own support for people back home, by not singing the national anthem ahead of their first group game with England, which they lost 6-2.

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The Middle Eastern side then sprung one of the shocks of the competition, although there has been many, by beating Wales in their second game.

That set up a huge clash with USA in their final group match, with the winners guaranteed a place in the knockout stages, and even a draw seeing Queiroz's side going through.

However, ahead of the match, there were reports that they had been threatened by their own government back home, if they didn't sing the Islamic Republic's anthem.

CNN claimed that the players had been told their family faced imprisonment or potentially death, if they didn't sing before kick off.

The Iran players did sing the anthem ahead of the game, with it noted by those watching that they bowed their heads following the song.

Iran fans boo the anthem that the players were forced to sing. Image: Alamy
Iran fans boo the anthem that the players were forced to sing. Image: Alamy

Speaking last week, Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi became the first player to speak out in support of the anti government protests in the country.

"I would like to express my condolences to all bereaved families in Iran.

"They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathize with them regarding the conditions.

"We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy.

"We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we should not respect them."

In a game earlier in the year, the players wore black jackets during the anthem, in order to cover up the emblem on their shirts, and did not sing.

Tensions between Iran and USA rose ahead of the game, after the latter's social media team left the Islamic Republic's "Allah" emblem off the flag on a post.

That led to the country's state owned media to call on FIFA to ban the USMNT for 10 games, and kick them out of the World Cup.

USA captain Tyler Adams was then asked some very tough questions in the pre match press conference, which he managed to navigate very well.

Featured Image Credit: BBC Sport

Topics: Football, Football World Cup, USA, Qatar

Ryan Sidle
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