Crowd in tears as Iran players refuse to sing national anthem before England clash

    Crying Iran fan
    There were tears during the Iranian national anthem as the players made a statement (Picture: BBC)

    There were emotional scenes ahead of Iran’s World Cup opener against England, with the players refusing to sing the national anthem and Iranian fans in tears as they made a statement against events in their country.

    After the England players sung God Save the King, the Iran team stood silent during their own national anthem in a powerful statement.

    The civil unrest continues in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini sparked protests against the government, which have led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of imprisonments.

    Some players had made their feelings known before the start of the World Cup campaign, backing the protesters at home.

    Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun posted on Instagram: ‘At worst I’ll be dismissed from the national team. No problem. I’d sacrifice that for one hair on the heads of Iranian women.

    ‘This story will not be deleted. They can do whatever they want. Shame on you for killing so easily; long live Iranian women.’

    Ehsan Hajsafi, the AEK Athens defender who has 121 caps and captains Iran, said at a press conference in Qatar: ‘They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathise 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.’

    There was also support for the protests outside the stadium, as women dressed in red, white and green to symbolise the Iranian flag held posters with slogans saying ‘Women. Life. Freedom’ and ‘Freedom for Iran’.

    Some used a scissors gesture in a show of defiance against the Iranian regime.

    Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - England v Iran - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 21, 2022 A woman holds a sign reading 'Woman life freedom' outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
    Protests have been sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in September (Picture: REUTERS)
    Iran supporters wait for the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Fadel Senna / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
    An Iranian supporter showing the ‘scissors gesture’ today (Picture: AFP)

    MORE : Iran fans mock Harry Maguire with banners ahead of England World Cup clash

    MORE : England fans face chaos outside stadium after tickets vanish from app

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