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Eden Hazard sensationally criticises Germany's OneLove protest - "Focus on football"

Eden Hazard has told the Germany team to "focus on football" following their protest over not being allowed to wear the OneLove armband.

Germany, England and Wales were among the nations that opted against wearing the armband in Qatar in the eleventh hour due to the threat that their respective captains could receive yellow cards for doing so. The late decision from the respective football associations has been heavily criticised.

The German FA are planning legal action against FIFA due to their stance while the national team's actions before kick-off against Japan grabbed the headlines on Wednesday. The team posed for a photo in which all 11 players covered their mouths in protest prior to their shock loss.

Several players also wore rainbow laces as the issues of gay rights continued to be highlighted, while captain Manuel Neuer wore rainbow-coloured football boots. The spotlight has been shone on LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal, due to their hosting of the tournament.

"I'm not comfortable talking about it because I'm here to play football," Belgium's Hazard said on Wednesday after his side defeated Canada 1-0 in an unconvincing performance. "We were banned for a bit… I didn't want to start the match with a yellow card, it would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament."

Hazard then was asked about other teams, but he hit out at Germany's action with pointed criticism of their result: "They would have done better not to do it and to win instead. We are here to play football, I am not here to send a political message. Other people are better placed for that. We want to be focused on football."

Eden Hazard appeared to be critical of Germany's protest of the OneLove armband (AFP via Getty Images)

Have Your Say! What did you make of the protest from Germany players? Tell us what you think here.

Germany boss Hansi Flick has explained that the gesture was designed "to make a point" and highlight the threat that had been made to them by football's world governing body after being involved in the armband request.

"The reason for the armband was that the team wanted to make a point," said the former Bayern Munich boss. "FIFA put a stop to it and threatened punishments if it was on display. For those countries that played yesterday, it was extremely short notice. The armband is a symbol for diversity and values which we represent and live by.

"We treat each other with a great deal of respect and esteem, but as far as those values are concerned, there are parties who don't see it that way. Yellow cards wouldn't have been a problem, but the manner in which it was left open and threatened so shortly before the game put the likes of England and the Netherlands in a difficult position.

"There wasn't any time to react to it; therefore, those countries said that we will remove that pressure from the players' shoulders. I think it's a real shame that you aren't allowed to stand up for human rights anymore."

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