Metro Man, Japan Fans Cleaning: 5 Things That Went Viral During World Cup
Other memorable moments from the FIFA World Cup 2022 include Morocco's Sofiane Boufal dancing with his mother and Iran players refusing to sing their national anthem.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 began to make headlines ever since Qatar was awarded the bid to host it. Mired in controversies, football's biggest event began on November 20. From then till now, 60 matches have been played, with the competition now heading towards the semi-final stage.
During this span of 60 matches, the FIFA World Cup 2022 witnessed some unforgettable moments, both inside and outside the pitch, reflecting how football is more than just a game. With thousands of football fans flocking to Qatar, documenting everything, and sharing it on social media, the event gave fans several moments to cherish and debate.
Here's a look at some of the viral moments from the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Iran's Protest In The Field
During Iran's match against England, the Iranian players made headlines by refusing to sing the national anthem of the Islamic republic. The silence during the national anthem came as an act of protest where the players stood in solidarity with the ongoing protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died mysteriously post her custody by Iran's morality police.
Amini was arrested by the morality police for not wearing the hijab properly according to the Islamic Republic's government standards. Her death sparked nationwide protest against the current regime of Iran under supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
In the later matches against Wales and the United States, the Iranian players sang the national anthem after fears of facing reprisals. Fans inside the stadiums were reportedly chanting "Death to the dictator" during the match. Fans also came out with jerseys featuring Mahsa Amini's name printed on the back.
Moroccan Players Celebrating With Their Family
Morocco's fairytale continues in the FIFA World Cup 2022 after the Atlas Lions became the first African-Arab nation to qualify for the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time in the tournament's 92-year-old history.
After the Walid Regragui-managed team were able to defeat the likes of Belgium, Spain and Portugal during their pursuit to reach the World Cup semi-finals, many players enjoyed the special moment with their family members, providing viral moments to the internet and the world.
One includes Achraf Hakimi, the PSG defender who has been a key part of the Moroccan squad. Born in Spain to Moroccan parents, Hakimi went to the stands running to meet his mother and celebrate the moment. Photos and videos of Hakimi's mother kissing him on the cheeks went viral on social media.
Sofiane Boufal celebrating Morocco's quarter-final victory against Portugal with his mother and dancing together warmed many hearts.
Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou is yet to concede a goal and has been nothing short of a wall for the Moroccans. After the victory against Portugal, Bounou enjoyed the moment on the field with his son, who donned his father's goalkeeping gloves, providing the internet with another adorable viral moment.
Morocco will face defending champions France for their semi-final clash on Thursday at 12:30 am IST.
Japan Players And Fans Cleaning
Japan had a phenomenal run in the FIFA World Cup 2022 where they topped the Group E points table, a group that featured recent world champions Spain (2010) and Germany (2014). The Blue Samurais defeated both Spain and Germany 2-1. Germany could not qualify for the knockouts for a second consecutive time.
But outside the pitch, the Japanese players and the fans in the stand won the hearts of the local Qataris and people on the internet with their cleanliness initiative. The Japanese were recorded cleaning the stadiums spick-and-span after the match.
The Japanese players even left origami swans, thanking the cleaners for their service after their matches.
Metro Man Of Qatar World Cup
A Kenyan man who goes by the name of Abubakar Abbas might not ring a bell, but mention Qatar's 'metro man' and it is likely that football fans know who that is. Abbas was quick to become viral amongst fans who visited Qatar as the 'metro man', for his innovative way of guiding commuters towards the metro station.
After becoming a fan favourite, the 23-year-old soon received an invitation from the Qatari officials to watch the England vs USA match live at Al Bayt Stadium.
Qatari Media Imitating Germany's Protest Act
Qatar faced criticism, notably from the western nations including England and Germany, over its treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. The seven UEFA nations were prohibited from wearing the #OneLove armband which was a sign of standing in solidarity against government oppression.
Players of the German national team made headlines as they posed for their team photograph with their hands covering their mouths as an act of protest against FIFA for prohibiting them from wearing the armband.
Germany's campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup came to an early end as they could not qualify for the knockout stage for a second consecutive time. Japan and Spain edged past Die Mannschaft in the Group E points table and advanced to the Round of 16 stage.
After Germany's early exit from the World Cup campaign, Qatari TV hosts mocked the Germans by imitating their protest gesture.
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