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Germany players cover their mouths in team photo amid armband controversy

Before kickoff, all players participated in the gesture in front of dozens of photographers on the field.

During the team’s photograph session just before the start of the match against Japan, the Die Mannschaft were seen covering their mouths as a gesture of a message to FIFA after its threats of sanctions were to placed on players wearing the “OneLove” armbands.

All Germany players took part in the gesture in front of photographers on the pitch, before kick-off against Japan.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser – who was pictured during wearing the “OneLove” armband – criticised FIFA, saying the threat of sanctions was a mistake and an unacceptable behaviour.

“This is not alright, how federations are being put under pressure,” Faeser said during a visit to a German FA event in Doha before the game.

“In today’s times it is incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination. It does not fit in our times and it is not appropriate towards people.”

A statement from the German Football Association (DFB) said: “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. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard”.

“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.”

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