England kneel against Iran ahead of World Cup opener as James Maddison misses out with injury | football news

England will take a knee before the World Cup opener against Iran, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

England made the gesture against racism and inequality in 33 straight games after football returned from the Covid-19 shutdown.

England didn’t take a knee in September’s games but they will make the gesture in Monday’s Group B opener at the Khalifa International Stadium against Iran and beyond at the World Cup.

“We talked about taking the knee,” Southgate said. “We feel like we should do that. That’s what we stand for as a team and that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time.

“Obviously in the Premier League we understand that clubs have decided to only do this for certain games and big occasions. We believe these are the greatest.

“We think it’s a strong statement to go around the world, so that young people in particular see that inclusion is very important.”

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Premier League players took a knee for two consecutive weekends in October to draw attention to racial injustice

Premier League captains decided ahead of the start of this season to take advantage of certain moments to get on their knees instead of making the gesture every game.

The teams agreed to dedicatedly conduct the storyline before the opening round “No place for racism” Matches in October and March, Boxing Day and Finals, as well as FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.

Maddison, Walker from Iran match

James Maddison and Kyle Walker will miss England’s opener but all other players will be available for Southgate.

James Maddison last played for England in 2019

Walker is still recovering from groin surgery while Maddison has not trained since arriving in Qatar after suffering a knee problem.

“Kyle Walker is a little short for this game but is making really good progress. We’re where we thought he could be at this point,” Southgate said.

“James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived so he won’t be able to do it tomorrow.”

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Cricketers Joe Root and Jofra Archer believe England’s football team has a good chance of winning the World Cup in Qatar.

Southgate continued: “Our challenge is to offer our fans a memorable tournament. We’ve taken them on amazing trips to tournaments in our lives.

“Our country is also going through a difficult phase – not like some other countries around the world.

“But we’re in an economic recession and life has been difficult for a lot of our people, so we want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with our team that’s really happy.”

Will Harry Kane wear the One Love bracelet?

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Both Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate made it clear that the England team will wear the OneLove bracelet at the World Cup despite the threat of a fine.

Confusion reigns over whether or not England captain Harry Kane will wear the ‘One Love’ armband against Iran. Negotiations continued late into the night in Qatar to try to find a compromise.

The FA is under pressure to drop the One Love bracelet, which aims to send a strong message against discrimination and show support for LGBTQ+ rights.

FIFA still hasn’t given Kane permission to wear the armband and on Saturday launched its own armbands with messages like “Football Unites the World” and “Save The Planet,” but none feature a rainbow design.

The FA have said Kane will wear the One Love armband and pay any fines unless approved by FIFA.

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Ahead of Wales’ first World Cup match against USA on Monday, the FAW are fully behind Gareth Bale, who is wearing the One Love captain’s armband.

Ahead of the Iran game, Kane insisted England had made their wishes clear about wearing the “One Love” rainbow armband.

“I think we’ve made it clear as a team and as an organization that we want to wear the armband,” Kane said.

“I know the FA are in talks with FIFA and I’m sure they will make a decision by tomorrow at the game. But I think we’ve made it clear that we want to carry it.”

Kane: England are hungry for success

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Harry Kane says it would be “a great thing to win the Golden Boot at the World Cup” and that it would also be an honor to break Wayne Rooney’s record of scoring the most goals for England, just two goals behind.

Kane also said England are hungry for success going into the tournament in Qatar.

“Whenever you go through a phase with a club or a country and haven’t won for a while, you’re always a little bit hungrier to turn it around,” he said.

“We’ve had some difficult games during that period, we’ve played against some really good teams and we’ve had some decent draws away from home, but ultimately we want to win games and that feeling of winning games is important.

“We went into a big tournament with this hunger. Iran will be really difficult, we know every game, every tournament will be difficult.”

“But of course we fight against every team and we know if we get it right tomorrow afternoon we have a really good chance of winning. It’s up to us, we did the prep, it was a quick turnaround but we’re looking forward to the start of the tournament.”

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During Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP, former Manchester United captain Patrice Evra and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola share their thoughts ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

Southgate added: “We recognize the quality of the opponent. The group is very tight in terms of world rankings, so it’s the most difficult, and at the beginning everyone has optimism and hope, so the differences in the opening games are always narrow.

“We’ve done so well in our last two tournaments but both games have been very close and everyone wants to win the first game.

“The goal is to get out of the group, however you make it, and that’s our first goal.”

Queiroz: England are ‘very, very dangerous’

Carlos Queiroz has returned for a second term as Iran's head coach (AP Photo)

Carlos Queiroz – former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United – is coaching Iran in a third World Cup and has been impressed by England.

“This new generation that Gareth Southgate is bringing to the national team is probably the most competitive England side I’ve seen since 1966, in my opinion,” said the Portuguese.

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Paul Merson and Clinton Morrison explain their starting XI for England’s opening World Cup game against Iran.

“I remember this team very well, but this team is very, very functional, very practical, very realistic.

“I work with the generation of Rio (Ferdinand), Paul Scholes, David Beckham, all these guys.

“But this national team is really, really different because they approach every single game realistically, which makes them very, very dangerous.”

World Cup 2022 draw

  • Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
  • Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
  • Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
  • Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
  • Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
  • Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
  • Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
  • Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea


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