Why did England ride in the 2022 World Cup? Explanation of the three lions gesture in Qatar

England are bidding for their first World Cup title since 1966 at this year’s tournament in Qatar.

Gareth Southgate’s side came close to silverware in 2021 but lost the European Championship final on penalties to Italy.

The Three Lions have been in mixed form this year, although they have shown enough signs that they could be real contenders at this World Cup. But as well as focusing on a title bid, England will also use their matches in Qatar as a way to push for broader social change.

That will not happen now with the proposal to wear a special OneLove armband as previously planned, after a late conversion by the Three Lions and seven other European countries due to the threat of sanctions from FIFA.

However, prior to this decision, England had already confirmed that they would take a knee before every match of the 2022 World Cup, in a separate stand against racism.

More: Explaining why there are protests against the 2022 Qatar World Cup

Why rode the England team in the World Cup?

England has been catching on since 2020 as part of a global anti-racism movement that initially sparked after the death of African American George Floyd.

Premier League players did the same for more than a year before deciding in the 2022/23 season to save the gesture for specific moments.

With a global audience ready to watch them in Qatar, England have decided to take the knee again, as they look to make the most of their platform.

“It’s what we stand for as a team and we’ve done it for a long time,” Southgate told the media ahead of England’s Group Two opener against Iran.

“We feel this is the biggest stage and we think it’s a powerful statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is so important.”

According to Sportsmail, the decision to take the knee in Qatar was made by the England players themselves.

England’s history of taking a knee

As England teetered on the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals, they stopped making the gesture during their recent UEFA Nations League campaign.

Prior to that, the Three Lions had been brought to their knees by 33 consecutive games, after returning to stadiums after the COVID-19 lockdown halted football across the world.

Speaking in late 2021, Raheem Sterling emphasized how England’s commitment to this gesture highlighted their desire to see real change in society.

“How did we take a stand as a team, I think the big question was, are we going to continue to do that through the Euros?” Sterling said on BBC Radio 4.

“And I think a lot of times when racism comes up or something happens, often in football and in the majority of society, we tend to process it in that period, for five days or that week and then we brush it under the rug and [pretend] Everything is okay now.

“When the next scenario happens, that’s when we go back in. But as a country, the players who were in those scenarios are facing some of those racial abuse, in general, we just want to keep highlighting that.

“Yeah, there have been times when we’ve sat down and said, ‘Is the message still going strong?'” ’, and we said ‘yes,’ and as a group, we tried to keep it going.”

Raheem Sterling England

Will Harry Kane wear the OneLove badge in Qatar?

Along with England’s decision to take a knee before their matches, the Three Lions have also initially indicated their intention to support the OneLove armband initiative, as it is set to be worn by Harry Kane.

Kane joined other captains in the tournament in stating his position on wearing the captain’s armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community and as a way to highlight broader social injustice – although its use has not been officially approved by FIFA.

Eight players participated in the initial plan, including Kane and Premier League stars Christian Eriksen (Denmark) and Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands).

However, due to the risk of being fined by FIFA, or even being shown a yellow card for doing so, the participating football associations confirmed in a joint statement just hours before England’s match with Iran kicked off that the gesture would not go ahead. .

The late switch was met with criticism, both towards England and the other nations involved for not following through on their plans, but also towards FIFA for banning the captaincy in the first place.

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