Athletic

Why are World Cup players donning unusual face masks on pitch?

From South Korea’s Son Heung-min, Croatia’s Joško Gvardiol, Tunisia’s Ellyes Skhiri, Belgium’s Thomas Meunier to Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand, several players have been spotted wearing unusual face masks on the pitch during the FIFA World Cup 2022 matches in Qatar, drawing comparisons to Batman and the Phantom of the Opera.

 

The masks, made from materials like polycarbonate, are leaving social media users curious as to why the footballers are sporting the black shields.

 

But it’s not a fashion statement. When football players suffer facial injuries, they frequently don protective masks. Some of these masks are 3D printed, enabling them to be customised to each player’s facial features.

 

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Players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Fernando Torres, and Antonio Rudiger wore face masks before.

 

RB Leipzig centre-back Gvardiol sported a black protective mask during the Group F match against Morocco and Canada.

 

The reason for the 20-year-old sporting the face covering is he had a collision with teammate Willi Orban in a Bundesliga match on November 10, with scans later showing he had broken his nose and suffered minor injuries to his face and eyes.

 

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In a similar on-field collision, Son suffered a fracture in his face, specifically around the eye socket, while playing for Tottenham during a November 1 Champions League win against Marseille.

 

The 30-year-old winger also stepped onto the field against Uruguay and Ghana, donning a black carbon fibre mask.

 

FC Köln midfielder Ellyes donned a mask against Denmark and Australia in Group D. The 27-year-old is nursing a broken cheekbone after suffering an injury in October.

 

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Belgium’s Borussia Dortmund star Thomas Meunier was also seen wearing a mask against the Red Devils’ match against Canada.

 

In Dortmund’s match against Hannover 96 earlier this season, the defender fractured his cheekbone and had to undergo surgery.

 

Source: United News of Bangladesh