Pogba dedicates France’s World Cup semi-final win to rescued Thai footballers
Social media reaction to France’s World Cup semi-final win over Belgium.
Midfielder 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 St Petersburg was enough to get Les Bleus past Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils and into Sunday’s Moscow final 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 man 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.”
Forward Kylian Mbappe posted some action pictures from the match and said “WHAT A DREAM”.
WHAT A DREAM 🤭🇫🇷💥 pic.twitter.com/eg1ArpJxAp— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 10, 2018
Defender Raphael Varane simply posted a picture of himself celebrating alongside the words: “En finale.”
EN FINALE 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/khumAaENco— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) July 10, 2018
Fellow defender Lucas Hernandez was similarly joyous, saying simply: “Direction … LA FINALLLLLLLEEE !!”
Former England striker Chris Sutton, working as a World Cup pundit, accused Belgium of “bottling” it on the big stage and stuck the knife into goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who had suggested England counterpart Jordan Pickford was too short to be a great keeper.
France 🇫🇷 deserved it ... Varane and Umtiti outstanding defenders ⚽️Mbappe the star of the World Cup👏👏 Belgium 🇧🇪 bottled it once again in a big tournament... big guy Courthois beaten at his near post... I think little Pickford would have saved it...— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) July 10, 2018
He wrote on Twitter: “France deserved it … Varane and Umtiti outstanding defenders, Mbappe the star of the World Cu, Belgium bottled it once again in a big tournament… big guy Courthois beaten at his near post… I think little Pickford would have saved it…”
Belgium defender Thomas Meunier gave credit to France and turned his attention to Saturday’s play-off clash. His tweet read: “Hats off to @equipedefrance for qualification. Go to the end now! As for us, we still have a game! Write the history of Belgian football with a magnificent 3rd place! Saturday will be #REDTOGETHER!”
Chapeau à l'@equipedefrance pour la qualification. Allez au bout à présent! Quant à nous, IL NOUS RESTE UN MATCH! Écrivons l'histoire du foot belge avec une magnifique 3ème place! Samedi, ce sera #REDTOGETHER ! #TÔTOUTARD #WEAREBELGIUM 🇧🇪🖤💛❤ pic.twitter.com/LUPHAyOLsm— Thomas Meunier (@ThomMills) July 10, 2018
Alex Witsel is also keen for Roberto Martinez’s side to claim third place and the midfielder paid tribute to supporters who made the trip, sentiments echoed by winger Yannick Carrasco and striker Michy Batshuayi.
We came far. We gave it our all.— Axel Witsel (@axelwitsel28) July 10, 2018
The future is Belgian. 🇧🇪
A big thank you from heart, to our supporters in Russia, back home & around the world for the love 🙏🏽 We still have a game left & we will fight to finish the tournament on third place.#REDTOGETHER pic.twitter.com/bWqtQbyhyl