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    F-16 escorts Poland’s national football team for World Cup Qatar

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    The Polish defence minister said on Friday that having a Polish Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft escort the airliner carrying Poland’s World Cup Squad to Qatar sent a strong signal of support while also taking part in a military exercise.

    Photographs of the F-16 flying alongside the airliner had prompted speculation in the foreign press that it was on duty to ward of threats stemming from the Russian-Ukraine war.

    Mariusz Blaszczak explained that the escort mission just had a practical role.

    “The most important tasks of our F-16 pilots are exercises and training, and yesterday such an exercise took place. That’s it,”

    he said.

    At the same time, Blaszczak added, “this was such a good way of showing support for our players”.

    “We hope that our players will achieve a lot. It is a very good team, great players, so we show them support,”

    he summed up.

    Poland will face Mexico in its first Group C match on November 22.

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