Pogba dedicates win to Thai survivors

Paul Pogba has dedicated France’s World Cup semi-final win over Belgium to the young footballers rescued from flooded caves after an 18-day ordeal in Thailand.

Samuel Umtiti’s second-half goal in Saint Petersburg was enough to get Les Bleus past Roberto Martinez’s side and into Sunday’s final in Moscow against either England or Croatia. The players were quick to express their emotion at the result on social media after the full-time whistle.

 Pogba posted a picture on Instagram of the 12 boys, aged between 11 and 17, who entered the Tham Luang cave system in Chiang Rai province with their 25-year-old coach on June 23 and became trapped when heavy rain cut off their way out.

He wrote alongside it: “This victory goes to the heroes of the day, well done boys, you are so strong #thaicaverescue #chiangrai”

The Manchester United midfielder also indicated there was still work to do for Didier Deschamps’ side in Russia, saying of Tuesday night’s victory: “It’s great but it’s not finished.”

Samuel Umtiti wheels away after heading France into the World Cup final
Samuel Umtiti wheels away after heading France into the World Cup final

Forward Kylian Mbappe posted some action pictures from the match and said “WHAT A DREAM”.

Defender Raphael Varane simply posted a picture of himself celebrating alongside the words: “En finale.”

Fellow defender Lucas Hernandez was similarly joyous, saying simply: “Direction … LA FINALLLLLLLEEE !!”