German public broadcaster ARD via Bild have reported that only two players, Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka were in favor of conducting a protest over FIFA’s ban on the One Love armband.

The report claims that other players were not in favor of covering their mouths while posing for the pre-game team photo against Japan, which the Europeans lost 2-1.

Players split over protest

It is believed that several ideas were discussed with the hand to mouth gesture being the go-to choose having received the backing of Joshua Kimmich. The Bild reported that the other players were opposed to doing anything at all.

Earlier former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed that Germany’s political demonstrations contributed to their shocking group stage exit.

The 2014 World Cup winners beat Costa Rica in their final group match but failed to qualify for the knockout stages as Japan stunned Spain.

It was Germany’s second successive group stage exit from the World Cup, following their disastrous outing in Russia four years back.

Matthus criticizes the German FA

Former national player and legend Lothar Matthaus criticized the German FA claiming that the governing body let their team down over their stance on wearing the One Love armband.

The 61-year-old former World Cup winner also came down heavily on national team director Olivier Bierhoff saying, “He is of course responsible because he couldn’t handle the pressure and unrest from the outside. Not only him, but the president and the people in charge at the DFB – they all let the coach and the team down.”

Matthaus also claimed that German FA must take responsibility for the national side’s disastrous campaign continued, “I hope the DFB will speak honestly about their mistakes. I think of President Neuendorf, who criticized everything here in Doha before the World Cup and then I see him during the game sitting in the stands next to Gianni Infantino and smiling at the camera for 3 minutes.”

“The players notice that, they’re put under pressure to set an example and protest, but then they see the people who are demanding it smiling in front of the camera.”

Matthaus however has backed head coach Hansi Flick saying that the former Bayern Munich manager is the right person for the job despite the shock exit. However, he did mention that the team could have been more prepared but also admitted that Flick should remain in charge till 2024.

The former Ballon D’Or winner said, “I hope the young players who were here will develop more in the next 2 years. I also believe that Hansi Flick will be the coach at Euro 2024. ‘Hansi is self-conscious, and I am convinced that for 2024 we’ll see a team that will be put together and well-drilled early on.’

Photo credit: IMAGO / Ulmer/Teamfoto

Guide to World Cup 2022

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of the biggest event in soccer!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
The Groups: We breakdown each group and all the teams
The Kits: Check out what every team will be wearing on the field this fall
Predictor: Play out every scenario with our World Cup Predictor
World Cup Bracket: Map out the entire tournament, from the groups to the final