Poland captain Robert Lewandowski has extended his support to war-torn Ukraine on Tuesday after he pledged to wear an armband featuring Ukraine's flag during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in November. The Barca striker met former Ukraine captain and Andriy Shevchenko at Warsaw's national stadium to collect the armband, to show his solidarity with Ukraine, who failed to qualify for the tournament.
Earlier, Lewandowski expressed his support to Ukraine after the Russian military invasion and called out the former to boycott playing Russia in a World Cup qualifying game. After receiving the armband, Robert Lewandowski expressed his gratitude towards the former Ukraine skipper and claimed that it will be his honour for him to carry the armband in the colours of Ukraine to the World Cup.
"Thank you Andriy. It was a pleasure to meet you! It will be an honour for me to carry this captain’s armband in the colours of Ukraine to the World Cup," Lewandowski wrote on his Insta post.
After Poland advanced through the playoffs to the World Cup in Qatar, Ukraine lost to Wales in a playoff final postponed until June to help the team prepare amid the war that shut down domestic soccer. Poland will play in Group C with Argentina, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
"I’ll wear Schechenko's armband at the World Cup in November as a reminder that the people of Ukraine are not alone and remain in our thoughts. Sharing time with Andriy means a lot to me," Lewandowski added.
Lewandowski's public stance led to the boycott of Russia from the World Cup qualification playoffs semi-final scheduled in Warsaw on March 24. Notably, former Chelsea and AC Milan striker Shevchenko, who made 111 appearances for Ukraine and scored 48 goals has been raiding funds to rebuild his country following the invasion.
"I want to thank Lewandowski for this act of solidarity and for all his work on behalf of my country," Shevchenko said. Notably, Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered troops into Ukraine terming it a 'special military operations.'