As Iran prepares to play diplomatic arch-rivals the US in the World Cup today, AFP looks at how geopolitics have spilled onto the pitch in previous World Cups:
Mussolini’s ‘Blackshirts’: France v Italy, 1938
Just a year before World War II broke out, defending champions Italy arrived in France with politics taking center stage in their clash with the hosts.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
Championed by Italy’s then-leader, fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the team were booed when they came onto the pitch at the stadium near Paris.
Undeterred, the Italians gave the fascist salute to the crowd and played in black shirts, a nod to the uniform worn by Mussolini’s notorious “Blackshirts” militia.
Italy won the clash 3-1 and went on to win the competition.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
Cold War battle: East Germany v West Germany, 1974
It would be the only game at international level between the two national teams during the period when Germany was divided from 1949 to 1990.
Billed as the “battle of the brothers” and at the height of the Cold War, tensions were so high that the traditional shirt-swapping at the end of the match was banned.
With fears of terrorist activities, the match was categorized as high risk and armed squads were positioned around the stadium.
East Germany, playing in their first World Cup, pulled off a sensational 1-0 win, though things soon returned to script, with West Germany winning the tournament.
Maradona’s moment: England v Argentina, 1986
This highly charged clash took place in Mexico four years after Argentina’s defeat to Britain in the Falklands War.
To the joy of their fans, Argentina took symbolic revenge, winning the quarter-final 2-1 with Diego Maradona scoring twice. His first goal was the infamous “Hand of God” goal, in which he punched the ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Then a superb solo effort dubbed the goal of the century sealed victory.
“It was a final for us. It was not about winning a match, it was about eliminating the English,” Maradona said.
Say it with flowers: Iran v USA, 1998
Peace, not war, was behind the pre-kick-off niceties between the US and Iran at the 1998 World Cup.
The match, billed as one of the most politically charged in the game’s history, began with a gesture of reconciliation from Iran’s players, gifting bouquets of white roses to their US opponents.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran and the US have been at loggerheads.
The goodwill did not last long, however, as Iran famously stunned the Americans, beating them 2-1 and knocking them out of the World Cup.
An eagle lands: Switzerland v Serbia, 2018
This clash caused a huge outcry in Serbia after two Swiss players of Albanian origins (Kosovo and Labnai) celebrated their goals with a two-handed eagle gesture to mimic the black eagle in Albania’s flag, considered by Serbia as a nationalist provocation.
The double eagle symbol is viewed as a symbol of defiance in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 in a move Serbia refuses to recognise.
Granit Xhaka, who was born in Kosovo, made the gesture after he scored Switzerland’s first goal, and Xherdan Shaqiri repeated it following his last-gasp winner that clinched a 2-1 victory.
FIFA fined the players, although they escaped a ban.
這是德國 1949 年至 1990 年分裂期間，兩支國家隊間唯一一次在國際級的比賽中交鋒。
和平，而非戰爭，是 1998 年世界盃開賽前美國與伊朗間微妙關係的背景。
自 1979 年伊朗伊斯蘭革命以來，伊朗和美國一直不和。
然而，這種善意並沒有持續多久，因為眾所周知，伊朗以 2-1 擊敗美國，把他們踢出了世界盃。
出生在科索沃的格蘭尼特‧扎卡在為瑞士隊踢進第一球後做了這手勢，而傑爾丹‧沙奇里在他最後的致勝球以 2-1 獲勝後重複了這個手勢。