Paul Pogba has dedicated France’s World Cup semi-finals win against Belgium to the 12 brave boys who survived a harrowing ordeal against all odds trapped underground in caves after heavy rains in Thailand.
The rescue mission concluded yesterday after the final five members of a young football team – called the Wild Boars – were rescued. The boys had spent 18 tormenting days trapped deep inside the flooded caves.
Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels in darkness.
Following the 1-0 win in Saint Petersburg, Manchester United midfielder Pogba tweeted: “This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong.”
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) July 10, 2018
FIFA boss Gianni Infantino had invited the boys’ to Sunday’s World Cup final last week. The plans were cancelled after was informed: “That due to medical reasons, the boys will not be in a position to travel to Moscow.”
“FIFA’s priority remains the health of everyone involved in the operation and we will look into finding a new opportunity to invite the boys to a FIFA event to share with them a moment of communion and celebration,” a spokesman said.
The Thai footballers, aged from 11 to 16, had been stuck deep underground after setting off to explore the cave with their coach after training on June 23.
FIFA also expressed condolences to the family of a Thai Navy SEAL who died after running out of oxygen during the rescue operation on Friday. “Our thoughts are with his family,” FIFA said.