After more than two unimaginably miserable and terrifying weeks trapped in the Tham Luang cave network, 12 boys and their coach have been rescued and look set to travel to Russia for the FIFA World Cup final.
In a fabulous gesture from the larger football family, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has extended an invitation to the Wild Boars football team to be at the biggest game on the calendar – set to be played on Sunday morning (AEST) at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
FIFA president has invited the 12 young Thai players and coach currently trapped in the #ThamLuang cave to the World Cup Final should they get out on time.
— tahaa_lone (@tahaa_lone) July 8, 2018
The letter was actually sent on July 5, when the team was initially found, almost a week before they were successfully rescued.
“[W]e hope that they will soon be embracing their loved ones and restoring their strength and confidence,” the letter read.
English Premier League giants Manchester United have also expressed their relief at the boys’ successful rescue in a post on Twitter, in which the Red Devils also extended an invitation to visit Old Trafford in the coming season, writing, “We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season.”
#MUFC is relieved to learn that the 12 footballers and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand are now safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.
We would love to welcome the team from Wild Boars Football Club and their rescuers to Old Trafford this coming season. pic.twitter.com/5CGMoD1Msq
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 10, 2018
A cracking series of responses came up, with Twitter user ‘Adam’ replying, “Announce Ronaldo”.
This led ‘Angie’ to respond, “Not now. Have some respect, please.”
To which Adam replied, “Announce Ronaldo later”.
(For the record, Ronaldo has since announced he is heading to Juventus, as expected.)
The offers of football tickets to the rescued team are reminiscent of Dave Grohl giving the miners trapped in the Beaconsfield disaster “two tickets to a Foos show, anywhere, and two cold beers waiting for you” upon learning the pair had requested an MP3 player filled with Foo Fighters tunes to help pass the time while they awaited rescue.