Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun during the Iran-England match November 21 in Doha.

WALES VS IRAN 11 am BeIN Sport 1

Since the start of the Iranian rally in the World Cup, Sardar Azmoun has been discreet. On Monday 21 November, Tim-e melli’s top scorer started on the substitute bench for Group B against England. When he entered the pitch of the Khalifa International Stadium, in 76me minute of play, his team was already mistreated by the English, 5 to 1.

In injury time, when his shot deflected off the crossbar out of nowhere, the crowd held their breath. He too, sure, because he knew that his reaction would be watched in the event of a goal. Would he celebrate his feat or stand idly by in support of the victims of the women’s rights protests in Iran? Before the match, his 11 teammates had chosen to remain silent during the broadcast of the anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On Friday, Azmoun could well start a crucial second game against Wales. And all eyes will once again be on the 27-year-old footballer.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers World Cup 2022: in Qatar, Iranian fans divided on support for the national team

Injured at the beginning of October with his German club Bayer Leverkusen, the striker’s presence in Qatar it was uncertain to the end. Not only for her physical shape, but also -and above all- for her brave speeches on her Instagram account, in favor of women’s rights and against the bloody repression in her country, which since then has claimed the least 350 lives in the mid-1980s. September.

National emblem

Finally present on the list of players retained by the Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, who insisted on his inclusion, the elegant striker crossed the first days of the tournament like a shadow. Tim-e melli organizes the strict minimum of means, only a mandatory press conference the day before each game. Unsurprisingly, Azmoun did not participate.

On Monday, in the midst of a sports rout and a charged political context, his entry into the game gave a small balm to the hearts of many Iranian fans. Sardar Azmoun even softened, for a moment, national divisions. The player was the only one acclaimed by the minority who showed signs of support for Iranian women.

Also read: Qatar 2022: the “unofficial” profile of the Iranian team

Since the death, on September 16, of Mahsa Amini, detained by the morality police in Tehran for not having respected the strict dress code imposed by the regime, the footballer from the country’s Turkmen minority is on his way to becoming a a national emblem. . On September 28, on her Instagram page, she posted for the first time a photo of the women’s volleyball team in her hometown of Gonbad-e Qabus, near the Turkmen border, where she plays. she. Her mother is also a renowned coach of this sport.

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