Updated: Mon, 21 Nov 2022 07:01 PM IST | Source: REUTERS
Iran's national soccer team chose not to sing their country's anthem before their opening World Cup match against England on Monday, in an apparent show of support for protesters back home.
All of the starting 11 players were silent as the anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium.
More than two months of nationwide protests, sparked by the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police, are among the boldest challenges posed to Iran's clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran’s national team did not to sing national anthem as the #EnglandVsIran game kicks off #FIFAWorldCup, in support of the country’s women-led revolution. The Iranian crowd were also booing their own national anthem. Amazing! pic.twitter.com/qBwZqYHbqF— Shabnam Nasimi (@NasimiShabnam) November 21, 2022
England manager Gareth Southgate kept faith with centre-back Harry Maguire, including him in a back four to play Iran, who will start with star forward Sardar Azmoun on the bench for the World Cup Group B encounter on Monday.
Maguire, who has been out of favour at club side Manchester United this season, starts alongside John Stones in a back four, with Southgate opting against his usual three-man backline for the encounter at Khalifa International Stadium.
England are without midfielder James Maddison, who is nursing a knee injury, while Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling will play in a three-man frontline with captain Harry Kane.
Azmoun has not played since injuring his calf at the start of October.
England: Jordan Pickford, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling
Iran: Alireza Beiranvand, Sadegh Moharrami, Ehsan Hajsafi, Milad Mohammadi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mehdi Taremi, Rouzbeh Cheshmi, Ali Karimi, Majid Hosseini, Ahmad Nourollahi