ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Amid cheers, a French national football team player dedicated Tuesday’s win over Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals to another football team far away.
Midfielder Paul Pogba was one of the many footballers, world leaders, stars and more who rejoiced at hearing the 12 boys and coach of the Wild Boars football team were all safely extracted from the Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai province after more than two weeks trapped inside.
“This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong,” Pogba said in an Instagram post accompanied by a photo of the 12 boys. He added in French, “My thoughts are with the boys in Thailand.”
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) July 10, 2018
“So pleased to hear the news from Thailand. These boys are heroes, as is the coach, the men and women who risked their lives rescuing them and the incredible Saman Kunan. Such a positive, uplifting story,” Beckham wrote, referring to the ex-Navy SEAL who gave his life in the effort.
Elon Musk, who personally delivered a mini-submarine not used for the mission, also tweeted his congratulations.
Great news that they made it out safely. Congratulations to an outstanding rescue team!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2018
Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski said that the successful rescue of the 13 was winning the most important match of all.
Winners, heroes. Once again real humanity won. I’m proud of everyone who supported this team winning the most important match!❤️ #ThaiCaveRescue
— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) July 10, 2018
Former Chelsea FC star Frank Lampard posted a short clip wishing the boys a speedy recovery and condolences to Saman Kunan’s family.
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) July 10, 2018
World leaders such as United States President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the rescuers. Trump called it a “beautiful moment,” while May saluted “the bravery of all those involved.”
On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand. Such a beautiful moment – all freed, great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018
Delighted to see the successful rescue of those trapped in the caves in Thailand. The world was watching and will be saluting the bravery of all those involved.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) July 10, 2018
American actor Josh Brolin, who as Thanos recently gave a much unhappier ending to “Avengers: Infinity War,” felt the world was rebalanced.
Scouts in the United Kingdom honored Cub Scout Leader Jonathan Volanthen, the British cave diver who found the boys.
Reflecting on the brave and selfless team effort, especially Saman Gunan who lost his life in the pursuit of helping others. pic.twitter.com/6QkN6hAuvr
— The Scouts (@UKScouting) July 10, 2018
Many chose to pay tribute to Lt. Saman, whose death Friday raised the stakes of the mission’s outcome. Sand artists made this tribute in Puri, India.
Made by Mr. Pattanaik
— MIHIR (@mihirm123) July 11, 2018
Others praised the international rescue team.
Real Heroes in Thailand today cave divers
Saman Kunan🇹🇭 (RIP)
Rafael Aroush🇮🇱 #ThaiCaveRescue
Thai tweeters drew celebrations praising the rescuers.
‘ พวกเขาไม่ได้มีพลังวิเศษ มีเพียงใจที่พิเศษ 💖 ‘
— ติ่งเอย ทำไมจึงติ่ง (@idol_addict) July 3, 2018
— Interface21 (@Interface21) July 11, 2018
The most heartbreaking!
— Pikacu💫 (@raviika_vika) July 10, 2018
One of them even depicts US Air Force Capt. Jessica Tait.
— ติ่งเอย ทำไมจึงติ่ง (@idol_addict) July 10, 2018