The Iranian soccer team sings the national anthem relentlessly and then plays their hearts out

Soccer players are often judged for their visible reactions during a match in the hope of encouraging the referee to call a foul. Today, reading their expressions meant a lot more.

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During the game, there was some tension in the stands, the Associated Press reported. Spectators supporting the Iranian government were said to have harassed those who were protesting. Fans wearing shirts emblazoned with the words “Woman, Life, Freedom” were invited. Security guards prevented some from entering the stadium carrying the Persian flags that symbolized the time before the Islamic revolution of the late 1970s. Screaming matches broke out and at one point, as three different women spoke to foreign media, they were surrounded by loud men shouting “Islamic Republic of Iran!” to interrupt the interviews.

Nevertheless, Iran won 2-0 against Wales. They lost their first match against England 6-2. On Tuesday they play the USA.

Elsewhere in Qatar, an unexpected and fascinating development has blossomed. Many fans say they are happy with the “Singing Street Marshalls” that have popped up around the stadiums. These helpful guides, sitting on top of rescue chairs, have been hired to direct people to public transport hubs. Most of them are migrants from Ghana and Kenya, and after a few days of boring and repetitive instruction, they have taken it upon themselves to convey their message in song. Given the controversy over which A-list performers would come to Qatar, where a range of human rights violations can land someone in jail (see: Rod Stewart turn down a $1 million gig) it’s good to see grassroots people filling in the blanks.

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