Thailand football team won't attend World Cup final

The Thai boys were in the dark for so long that they had to wear protective sunglasses once they got out of the cave

The 12 boys and their coach who were saved from a cave in northern Thailand are doing well mentally and physically, a Thai health official has said, amid an outpouring of gratitude for those involved in their rescue. A former Thai Navy diver lost his life while on a re-supply mission inside the cave to support the rescue.

Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, the director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, told a news conference involving officials who participated in the rescue that "everyone is strong in mind and heart".

The four boys rescued Sunday can eat normal food and walk around, and the four pulled out Monday were eating soft food. A few of the boys have been treated for lung infections, and most were given antibiotics to combat low white blood cell counts, CBS News reports.

Rescuers had weighed up several options to save the boys, including keeping them in the cave through the months-long monsoon season.

The drama in Thailand has even resonated as far as Russian Federation, where football World Cup is reaching its final stages.

The worldwide rescue effort, which saw all 12 boys and their coach safely extracted from the flooded cave system after more than two weeks, hit particularly close to home for Scott.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers though rocky, muddy and water passages that in places were just a crawl space.

The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday are in good health overall, though two are suffering from pneumonia, according to hospital staff cited by AP. It showed that many of them appeared to be in good condition. "Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out".

The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said earlier the final operation would be "more challenging" because one more survivor would be brought out, along with three Navy SEALs who have been accompanying them.

The SEALs, who Dr Harris worked alongside for much of the 18-day rescue operation, issued a statement on Wednesday night (local time) thanking the South Australian for his incredible efforts. "Such a attractive moment - all freed, great job!" He added that he believed the children will be contributing back to society when they grow up. "The next step is to make sure those kids and their families are safe because living in a cave has a different environment, which might contain animals that could transmit any disease", a hospital statement said.

The members of the Wild Boars football team, aged between 11 and 17, entered the cave when it was dry and were trapped after heavy rains flooded the cave.

The worldwide soccer federation, FIFA, had already invited the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia this Sunday.

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