`Life is beautiful’ moment was witnessed when Benfica supporters gave a standing ovation to Ukraine’s striker Roman Yaremchuk during their Primeira Liga clash against Vitoria SC.
Moved by the heart-touching gesture, Yaremchuk burst into tears. The video has now gone viral with people cutting across the national and ideological lines supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Initially, the Ukrainian striker wasn’t in the playing XI but came on as a substitute in the 62nd-minute. He was given the captain’s armband and Benfica fans applauded waved flags and cheered for the Ukrainian when he took the field.
Benfica later won the match by a 3-0 scoreline at the Estadio da Luz, with Darwin Nunez scoring a brace.
“This moment… Speechless!” tweeted SL Benfica
“Ukrainian forward Roman Yaremchuk comes on for Darwin Nez and is handed the captain’s armband. The entire Benfica supporters group gives him a standing ovation, moving Yaremchuk to tears. A very emotional moment,” wrote Zach.
“Yaremchuk we stand with you” tweeted third
This came on a day when FIFA ordered Russia to play matches without its flag and anthem at neutral venues.
FIFA, which condemned the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine”, said that no international football matches will be played in Russia, and the country’s flag and anthem will be banned from any of their matches abroad.
FIFA said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Football Union of Russia (RFU), and any ‘home’ games would be held with no fans on “neutral territory”.
Polish Football Association chief Cezary Kulesza however called for Russia to be expelled from the World Cup.
“Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is,” he wrote on Twitter.
“If FIFA’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into effect, excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022,” he added in a statement.
Poland was due to play in Moscow on March 24.
Should Russia prevail, they are then scheduled to host the winners of a match between the Czech Republic and Sweden on March 29.
The draw for the World Cup finals, to be staged in Qatar in November and December, is set for April 1.
The Czech Republic and Sweden have also said they would not play against the Russians.
Swedish federation president Karl-Erik Nilsson, the senior UEFA vice president, told the website Fotbollskanalen that he was not satisfied with the FIFA decision with a “sharper stance” expected.
The Czechs said the FIFA compromise did not change their decision not to play Russia.
FIFA said it would try to find a solution with the three countries involved in the World Cup qualifiers.
England’s Football Association also said its national team would not play any matches against Russia “for the foreseeable future”.
“Out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we won’t play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future. This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group, or para football,” a spokesman said.