England stars’ touching gesture to cave survivors
THE survival story in Thailand that has gripped the world for the past three weeks has infiltrated the World Cup, with the 12 young rescued footballers even being offered the chance to watch the final.
The rescue of the 12 boys, aged between 11 and 17, and their football coach was completed by divers on Tuesday - 17 days after they were trapped underground.
England star Kyle Walker was among those to respond after the remarkable rescue of the boys.
One of the boys was wearing an England shirt when he emerged from the cave, which spurred right-back Walker into action.
"Amazing news that all of the Thai kids are out of the cave safely!" he wrote on Twitter.
"I'd like to send out shirts to them! Is there anyone who can help with an address?"
Walker's England teammate Jack Butland added: "Really glad everyone is safe! I'd like to join and send over some gloves for you guys as well!"
And they're not the only ones thinking of the boys.
In addition to being offered the chance to watch the World Cup final and a Manchester United game, they've been invited by La Liga champions Barcelona to play in their international academy tournament next year - and watch a game at the Nou Camp.
FIFA has been informed that the boys will not be able to take up the invite to watch Sunday's final (Monday 1am AEST) between France and the winner of the second semi-final between Croatia and England, as they're too ill to travel after their harrowing ordeal.
"Our priority remains the health of everyone involved," FIFA said.
"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."