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Liverpool Defender Van Dijk Defends Decision Not to Wear OneLove Armband for Netherlands at World Cup
- Virgil van Dijk captained the Dutch national team to a 2-0 victory over Senegal, but has faced criticism for not wearing the OneLove armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights
- FIFA earlier warned that the captain of any country wearing the armband in Qatar would be shown a yellow card as it opposes the culture of the host nation
- The World Cup in Qatar has generated controversy because of measures put in place in line with the country's religion and culture - predominantly about gay rights and alcohol
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk captained the Netherlands to a 2-0 victory over African champions Senegal in the second game of Group A, at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
He has since been criticised for not wearing the OneLove armband in support of gay rights, which is a symbolic form of protest against host nation Qatar over measures against the LGBTQ+ community.
FIFA had earlier threatened to fine any country whose player wears the armband, as well as giving a yellow card to the respective captains.
Speaking to the Independent, VVD explained he played at a position where yellow cards were 'not useful', defending his decision as simply wanting to play football at the global tournament.
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"There are people who say we don’t have a backbone, but that’s not how it works. We just want to play football. I would have loved to play with that band, but not at the expense of a yellow card."
The Netherlands are joint top of group A with South American nation Ecuador, who beat host nation Qatar 2-0 in the opening game, through two goals by Enner Valencia. The two countries have three points and two goals each.
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The Teranga Lions held on for 83 minutes before Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock, heading home an decisive pass from Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, after Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy failed to come off his lines.
Senegal will have a chance for redemption when they play Qatar in their second group game on Friday. A win will help them retain hopes of progressing to the knockout stage.