Paul Pogba dedicates France’s FIFA World Cup 2018 final entry to Thai cave survivors
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Paul Pogba dedicates France’s FIFA World Cup 2018 final entry to Thai cave survivors

Paul Pogba dedicated France’s FIFA World Cup 2018 semifinal win to the members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world

football Updated: Jul 11, 2018 20:42 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP, Saint Petersburg
FIFA World Cup 2018,Paul Pogba,France football team
France's midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates the team's victory in the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final against Belgium at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.(AFP)

Paul Pogba dedicated France’s World Cup semi-final win against Belgium to the 12 boys who survived a harrowing ordeal trapped underground in Thailand. (Match highlights)

The final five members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world.

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.

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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.”

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino had invited the boys’ Wild Boars football team to Sunday’s World Cup final last week.

But FIFA said it had been informed “that due to medical reasons, the boys will not be in a position to travel to Moscow”.

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“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.

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 08:21 IST