Denmark’s national soccer player Nadia Nadim usually wins hearts in her home country. But now there was trouble for the striker, who was born in Afghanistan and came to Denmark as a child. The reason: In April, Nadim announced that she would be an ambassador for the men’s soccer World Cup in Qatar.

Against the background of the criticism of the human rights situation – such as the treatment of homosexuals – in the host country of the World Cup in November, the decision caused a lot of incomprehension in your country. The Danish refugee agency ended its collaboration with Nadim, the football association criticized her, and the media cross-examined her.

The case is particularly explosive because Nadim’s teammate Pernille Harder is homosexual. “I would have made a different decision,” Harder said. But she denied that there was a stink in the team. “Nadia doesn’t mind that I’m homosexual, so it’s not funny between us.” Association director Peter Möller became clearer. He was “super upset and disappointed” about Nadim, saying the commitment “goes against everything we stand for”.

Nadim defends her role as ambassador. She sees them as a “huge opportunity to make a difference.” Nevertheless, she wants to demonstrate unity in the Danish team: “I have a fantastic relationship with my teammates.” She would get money for the Qatar advertising, “but not very much”.

Denmark’s first group opponent on Friday evening (9 p.m./ZDF and DAZN) is the German team. Germany is back in a major tournament for the first time since the 2019 World Cup quarterfinals against Sweden – and is not one of the top favourites.