England will get down on one knee ahead of their World Cup opener against Iran, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.
England have made a 33-match gesture against racism and inequality after football returned following the Covid-19 suspension.
England didn’t take a knee in September’s game, but they will do so in Monday’s Group B opener against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium with a solid World Cup performance.
“We’ve talked about taking a knee,” Southgate said. “We feel like we should. It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long time.
“Of course we’ve learned in the Premier League that clubs have decided to only do that in certain games, big occasions and we think it’s the biggest one.
“We think traveling the world is a powerful statement, especially for young people to see the importance of inclusivity.”
Premier League captains decided before the start of the season to take a knee at specific moments rather than doing it every game.
The team agrees to carry out the operation before the first round, committing to ‘No room for racism’ Games in October and March, Boxing Day and the final round, as well as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.
Madison, Walker withdraw from Iran race
James Maddison and Kyle Walker will miss England’s opener, but all other players are available for Gareth Southgate.
Walker is still recovering from groin surgery, while Maddison has yet to train after arriving in Qatar with a knee injury.
“Kyle Walker was a little short in the game but progressed really well. We were ahead of where we thought he could be at this point,” Southgate said.
“James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived, so he won’t be able to play tomorrow.”
Southgate added: “Our challenge is to give our supporters an unforgettable game. We take them on the amazing journey of their lives to the game.
“Our country is also going through a difficult time – unlike some other countries in the world.
“But we’re in a recession and life is tough for a lot of us, so we want them to enjoy football and go on a journey with our team that will bring real joy.”
Queiroz: England ‘very, very dangerous’
Carlos Queiroz – Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant at Manchester United – is coaching Iran in their third World Cup final and has impressed with England.
“The new generation that Gareth Southgate has brought to the national team is probably, in my opinion, the most competitive England national team I have had the opportunity to see since 1966,” said the Portuguese.
“I remember that team very clearly, but this team was very, very practical, very practical, very realistic.
“I worked with the Rio (Ferdinand) generation, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and all those guys.
“But this national team is really, really different because they take a realistic approach to any game and that makes them very, very dangerous.”
2022 World Cup draw
- Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
- Group B: UK, Iran, US, Wales
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea