Of course, the primary aim of the teams will be to win the match and acquire crucial points that will help them reach the pre-quarterfinals later. But there is also a long political shadow hanging over this match.
1 One Love Arm Band
England skipper Harry Kane will join 7 other captains in wearing the Armband that has evoked a FIFA booking. Other captains who will wear the One Love Armband are of: Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Wales and Netherlands. The Armband in general signifies the solidarity with the ideas of equality and more specifically with the the marginalised LGBTQ community across the globe.
FIFA are not particularly in favour of such statements during their tournament and could slap Kane and others or even the entire team with fines.
2 Taking the Knee
This gesture has been in vogue since the death of George Floyd by the hands of a Miami policeman. Now, it has become more or less ceremonious, England coach Gareth Southgate said in no uncertain measures that the team will follow the gesture in all of their matches in the FIFA World Cup 2022.
“It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time,” he told reporters. “We feel this is the biggest (stage) and we think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important,” he said.
3 Protest against Iran regime
The protest against Hijab has turned violent in Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mehsa Amini, in Iran moral police custody for not wearing the headgear. Till now, more than 100 people have died in Iran during the protest as the Iranian government has taken a harsh stand against those protesting.
Though Southgate did not express his opinion openly, he said enough to hint that their moral support is with the Iranian team, who is supporting the anti-hijab row in their country.
“I don’t feel informed enough to comment on what’s going on in Iran, and I don’t think it’s really my place to comment on it either,” Southgate said.
“I think the Iranian players and manager (Carlos Queiroz), I understand them, they are in a difficult position but I think they’re better informed to speak about those things.
“If we were asked by their team to support them in some way, we would obviously have to listen to that and consider that but at the moment that hasn’t happened.”
4 England economic crisis
While the Iran protests are on a religious ground, the situation is no less volatile in England, thanks to a shaking economy and inflation. Southgate was aware of the ground realities and said the team wanted to give some temporary respite for his countrymen from the financial woes harrowing them for a while now following the head change from Liz Truss to Rishi Sunak.