'The politics are finished': Germany abandon World Cup protest gestures to focus on football

Germany players cover their mouths as they pose for a team photo before Japan match - Getty Images
Germany players cover their mouths as they pose for a team photo before Japan match - Getty Images

Ilkay Gundogan declared “the politics are finished” at the World Cup after Germany decided against repeating their hand-over-mouth gesture for the team photo ahead of their match against Spain.

The previous starting 11 received praise but also some derision after making the gesture to indicate they were being silenced due to potential Fifa sanctions against the OneLove captain's armband.

Germany's protest prompted Gareth Southgate to say England will not get drawn into a virtue-signalling contest and that he can cope with any criticism that comes his way.

Both Germany and the Football Association abandoned plans for their captains to wear the OneLove armband after Fifa warned the teams.

The DFB had said the original hand-over-mouth protest ahead of their 2-1defeat by Japan was the team’s idea.

But there was no repeat from Germany on Sunday night for their 1-1 draw against Spain.

Gundogan explained afterwards his team-mates had been “mad with Fifa” but he was also quoted by The Athletic as saying: “We had a few players who were mad with Fifa, because obviously there were things planned from the team.

“This (the wearing of the armband) getting disallowed just before the (Japan) game, a few players were disappointed and frustrated and wanted to show something. We had the discussion in the team and at the end it got decided that we’ll do this gesture against FIFA. If you do something, you do it as a team.

“Honestly, my point of view is now the politics are finished.

“We are here now and I think Qatar is very proud. The country of Qatar is very proud to host the World Cup – also as the first Muslim country, and I come from a Muslim family, so the Muslim community is proud.

“Now it’s just about football – enjoying and celebrating – so that’s the most important thing.”