German players made it clear what they thought about armband bans. They dominated Japan and lost while Belgium were battered but beat Canada. Spain went for the conventional and simply seared Costa Rica.
Germany's players covered their mouths for their team photo before their opening World Cup match against Japan to protest against the organisers Fifa for forbidding them and six other teams from wearing armbands in support of LGBTQ+ rights. German football federation bosses were right behind the gesture. “With our captain’s armband, we wanted to send a signal for values that we live in the national team: diversity and mutual respect ... human rights are non-negotiable," the federation said. "That should be obvious. Unfortunately it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is like muzzling us."
Suffering for a cause
A lot has been said that none of the teams in Qatar were willing to make a stand before Qatari authorities over the issue and take the punishments and sanctions that Fifa was threatening if the captains wore the "OneLove" armband. Well, the Germans have offered the template. They failed to capitalise on their early dominance in the game against Japan and lost 2-1.
That's the Arabic for Schadenfreude.
Don’t take the lead
Read more on RFI English
Qatar World Cup: 5 things we learned on Day 1 - the pain of gain
Qatar World Cup: 5 things we learned on Day 2 - We fight till we're threatened
Qatar World Cup: 5 things we learned on Day 3 – It's all about Messi and Ronaldo