I noticed a couple of striking moments in today's Mexico vs Iran match in Nuremberg.
The first one was to see Mexican players standing firm and confident at the beginning of the match, holding their right palms close to their hearts and singing their national anthem loud and proudly. Each of them was clearly singing the anthem while holding their heads high and looking at an invisible point somewhere in the sky.
Now it was Iran's turn. They were standing firm as well, but not confident at all. As if funny notes of Iran's "national anthem" were cutting their ears and none of them, believe me, none of them was really singing the song. They were just muttering something upon their noses and staring at the camera as a lost child forced to join a choir. And I noticed, some of them didn't know the words at all, since I do; and I was trying to read their reluctuntly moving lips and they were murmuring something else. As a non-believer caught in the middle of pious praying people. Why is that?
Second point: In the wide sea of Mexican flags, of course, you could see some Iranian flags too. But I'm sure some people were confused: how many nations are playing in the match today? There was no problem with the Mexican flag: the same familiar tri-color. But what about this one with a funny Arabic writing? Oh, is it "Allah"? OK then, it belongs to Iran. How about the other one then? The one with a lion and a sward under a huge Sun? Iran's again? So, how about the third one then? The plain green-white-red one? I can't believe that! Iran again?
Thus, we had three flags for a single country on the same day, in the same city, at the same match. Why is that? Can you bring another example of a similar identity crisis elsewhere in the world?
Despite the defeat, I'm happy for my fellow Iranians. The game was one of the tough ones with a tough side: Mexico! And the first half just amazed me with the dazzling performance of Iran. The second half seemed to be a mistake of the coach, who thought concentrating on defence would keep the score intact. Alas, it didn't happen. Nevertheless, it was a great try against a giant like Mexico.