Iran's national soccer team sang during the playing of the Islamic Republic anthem at their second World Cup match against Wales on Friday, barely moving their lips.
They had refused to sing the anthem in their opening game earlier this week in apparent support of protesters back home.
Loud jeers were heard from Iranian supporters as the anthem played, with the team singing quietly as it played. Iranian authorities have responded with deadly force to suppress protests that have marked one of the boldest challenges to its clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Authorities in Tehran arrested a popular footballer Vorya Ghafouri on Thursday for his outspoken support for protesters.
The national team, called Team Melli has become controversial amid popular anti-regime protests, not siding with protesters who have defied the clerical rulers since September.
Iranians love soccer but not their team anymore as it keeps distancing itself from solidarity with the current wave of protests across the country.
The unsympathetic postureby Team Melli comes on the backdrop of several Iranian sportsmen and women using international competitions to show their support for the protests.
Numerous Iranian athletes have shown support for the protests. The Iranian football, beach football, water polo, basketball, and sitting volleyball teams refused to sing along with the anthem, which is customary in almost all international competitions. Authorities have made serious threats against athletes and other celebrities to stop them from public displays of solidarity with protesters but to no avail.