How Soccer Players Are Connecting With Rescued Thai Boys

The World Cup isn't the only major soccer story capturing the world's attention.

As the eyes of the world turn to Russia for the final week of the World Cup, the international soccer community has reached out to the 12 Thai boys rescued from a cave with their coach this week. 

After France beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals of the World Cup Tuesday, Les Bleus star midfielder Paul Pogba dedicated his country’s victory to the Wild Boars soccer team. 

“This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong," he posted on Twitter. 

Massimo Ferrero, president and owner of the Italian soccer club Sampdoria, took to Twitter Wednesday morning to invite the young boys to Italy and watch a game. 

“I have only one wish: to see a match with you at the Marassi stadium: I’d be honored to welcome you to Genoa, football is life and you have won the World Cup of life thanks to God,” Ferrero tweeted.

Ahead of England’s semifinal game against Croatia Wednesday, Three Lions player Kyle Walker tweeted that he wants to send shirts to the boys and asked for help from the online community in getting him an address for them. 

In a gesture of kindness, English soccer giants Manchester United have also invited the Thai soccer team to its stadium to catch an upcoming match. 

All 12 boys and their coach were rescued from the Thailand cave complex over several days. They had been trapped there since June 23.

The Thai Navy Seals confirmed the operation to remove the remaining team members and their 25-year-old coach had been successful in a post on their Facebook page Tuesday. The coach was the last one out of the Tham Luang cave complex.

"We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what," the Seals posted. "All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave."

While all of the attention was on the 12 boys and their coach, former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas paid tribute to the fallen Thai Navy Seal who died during the rescue mission. 

Casillas took to Instagram Tuesday to call Saman Kunan a “hero.” 

Casillas’ former Madrid and Spain teammate Sergio Ramos also paid tribute to Kunan while congratulating the Wild Boars.