New Delhi: Samuel Umtiti’s header made the difference in the 90-minutes of action in the St. Petersburg Stadium as France overcame resilient Belgium on Tuesday in the FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final and stand on the threshold of yet another glorious night in the tournament history. Didier Deschamp’s men were dominated by the Red Devils in most part of the game.
Umtiti’s second-half strike remained the only goal of the night as Les Bleus reached their third final, 2006 defeat to Italy being the other. After the win, Paul Pogba came up with a touching gesture towards the rescued Thai soccer team as he dedicated the win to the kids.
A 12-member team comprising of an 11-year-old named Chanin Wiboonrungrueng and a 14-year-old named Adul Sam were trapped in Tham Luang cave in Thailand’s Mae Sai district since June 23. It was until two British divers found them that lead to a huge rescue mission including over 100 personnel. After 17 days of stay in the pitch darkness, the kids were rescued on Tuesday evening.
At the end of the mission that saw support from the whole of football fraternity, the Thai Navy Seals Facebook page announced: “All 12 Wild Boars and coach have been extracted from the cave. All are safe.”
After the glorious win on Tuesday night in Russia, France mid-fielder Pogba took to Twitter to dedicate Les Blues’ victory over Belgium to reach final, to the rescued kids of Thailand. He shared a picture of the entire team and along with it wrote, “This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong #thaicaverescue #chiangrai”
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) July 10, 2018
England defender Kyle Walker even offered to give England jerseys to the kids after the news of their rescue broke. He tweeted, “Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely! I’d like to send out shirts to them! Is there anyone who can help with an address?”
Earlier, FIFA president Giani Infantino had written a letter to the Football Association of Thailand saying, “If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, FIFA would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final as our guests.”
“I sincerely hope that they will be able to join us at the final, which will undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration,” he added.