German soccer players cover their mouths in protest over a team photo before the World Cup match in Qatar

the german national football The team held a silent protest against their World Cup hosts in Qatar and the sport’s governing bodies on Wednesday, declaring that human rights are non-negotiable.

Before Germany started against Japan At the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, the 11 starters posed for a photo covering their mouths.

Human rights activists have long criticized Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ people.

Team captains of several European teams had planned to make “One Love” armbands to signal their support for the “One Love” campaign for human rights. But the national soccer federations of those teams, instead, adhered to the demand of the world body FIFA not to present that message in the game, amid threats of punishment.

That move apparently didn’t sit well with Germany, a perennial contender to win the world’s most famous soccer tournament.

“This was not about making a political statement,” according to a post on the team’s English-language Twitter account. Human rights are not negotiable, she said. “That should be taken for granted, but it’s still not the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.”

Germany led for much of Wednesday night’s game before Japan scored two late goals. to ensure a surprising surprise.

Takuma Asano’s winner came from a sharp angle in the 83rd minute, as Samurai Blue captured an improbable three points from the heavily favored Germans.

Germany’s next moves on Sunday against Spain before ending the Group E game on December 1 against Costa Rica.

Going into the World Cup, Germany and Spain were listed as the number 5 teams to win it all. with a probability of 10 to 1.

sara mahaidli contributed.