Paul Pogba has paused after the biggest win of his international career to dedicate it to the Thai soccer team whose last members were freed from a flooded cave hours earlier.
The France midfielder took to Twitter shortly after France beat Belgium late Tuesday to advance to the World Cup final. He posted the boys' photos and said the victory "goes to the heroes of the day, well-done boys, you are so strong."
This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well-done boys, you are so strong thaicaverescue #chiangrai pic.twitter.com/05wysCSuVy
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) July 10 2018
The last of the 12 boys and their coach were freed earlier in the day from a cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks.
Fans poured onto streets around the city, from the chic Champs-Elysees to working-class neighborhoods on the edge of town. Firecrackers popped in quick succession, punctuated by car horns and football chants and "On est en finale!" or "we're in the final!"
Some streets were closed to car traffic to accommodate fans. Police vans lined the busiest areas in a city still on guard after extremist attacks.
France will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between England and Croatia in the World Cup decider in Moscow on Sunday. The French public, celebrities and politicians have rallied around the national team as it advanced.
Umititi says "We worked really hard together, and it's me that scored but we all delivered a big game.