DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Robert Lewandowski cradled the neck of Kylian Mbappé, whose face was bowed as if to let the Poland veteran kiss the highest of his head.
It was a fatherly gesture from the 34-year-old FIFA world participant of the 12 months to the 23-year-old France celebrity who’s now on the quick monitor to profitable the subsequent award.
You are reading: Lewandowski exit with Poland looks like World Cup farewell
Lewandowski smiled when approaching Mbappé after the ultimate whistle Sunday, embracing him with a heat hug regardless that the younger man’s two targets had helped finish his World Cup in a 3-1 loss that despatched France to the quarterfinals.
A number of minutes later, Lewandowski lingered because the final participant left on the sector, applauding Poland followers within the nook and the workforce’s households and associates in the primary stand.
It certain appeared like a sluggish stroll away from a final World Cup for Lewandowski, who might be two months in need of his thirty eighth birthday when the 2026 event begins in North America.
“It’s robust to say now,” stated the daddy of two daughters who final month left house to arrange for the event in Qatar and posted a photograph on social media hugging them with the message “goodbyes are by no means simple.”
“Bodily I’m not afraid about this,” Lewandowski stated about staying in high form till 2026, “however you have got so many alternative issues exterior soccer that resolve that your happiness remains to be there.”
If this was a farewell, then his closing act on the World Cup stage was really curious for a person admired for enjoying and respecting the sport the appropriate method.
Lewandowski transformed a penalty kick within the ninth minute of stoppage time — as near rubbish time because it will get at soccer’s largest occasion — however he infuriated the French followers on the fast-emptying Al Thumama Stadium by the style through which he took it.
Trailing 3-0 and stepping as much as the spot for basically the final kick of the match, Lewandowski indulged in a stop-start, stutter-step run to trick France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into transferring too quickly. The veteran keeper was a full step off his line when he saved a weak kick as Lewandowski turned away, arms on hips.
The referee, nevertheless, ordered a re-take as a result of Lloris moved too far-off from the road, and Lewandowski stuttered towards the ball once more. Lloris dived left, however this time the ball nestled within the different nook of the web.
French followers jeered as Lewandowski jumped up in a fast and muted celebration.
A second profession World Cup objective clearly mattered to a soccer nice who had an earlier penalty saved in a 0-0 draw with Mexico 12 days in the past. He cried after lastly scoring on the World Cup final weekend in opposition to Saudi Arabia.
Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz acknowledged it might be robust for his captain, who doesn’t get the identical provide of passes he loved in a prolific membership profession with Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and now Barcelona.
“Now we have some limitations,” Michniewicz stated via a translator. “I believe Robert is in a troublesome scenario but it surely doesn’t imply he’s not going to attain for the nationwide workforce.
“The way in which he’s enjoying I believe he’s going to be a captain for a number of years.”
Staying on for a 2024 European Championship in Germany, the place Lewandowski lived and performed for 12 years, appears seemingly.
One other World Cup? Much less so.