The spirit of sport connects us all.

After placing 15th in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Japan’s Samurai Blue soccer team stepped off the world stage and returned home with renewed motivation. They might have lost the game, but they undoubtedly won over countless fans with their exhilarating plays.

And it seems they’re poised to win over even more, as the national soccer team announced that they’ve sent 13 autographed jerseys to the 12 boys and coach who were recently stranded in a cave complex in Thailand. The world held its breath when rising waters left members of the Thai soccer team “Wild Boars” trapped for more than two weeks, as divers scrambled to rescue them in a high-risk operation.

The blue jerseys will be presented to them after they’re all safe and sound, but more than that, the Samurai Blue team had a short but inspiring message for the Thai soccer team as they waited it out inside the cave.

▼ Never give up, no matter the odds.
(Translation below)

“The Japanese national soccer team that has participated in the FIFA World Cup has a message to the soccer team and coach trapped in the Thai cave. ‘Don’t give up! Hang in there!’ ‘Hang on! Football Family are with you.’”

▼ They’ve even translated their message into Thai.

Words of thanks quickly flooded in, most of them from Thai netizens:

“I’m Thai and I’m a supporter of the Japanese soccer team. Thank you very much.”
“To the soccer team trapped in the cave: there are many Japanese supporters. Don’t give up!”
“I live in Thailand now. I’m really grateful for the encouraging message from everyone.”
“Thank you for cheering us on!”
“Thank you so much!”

It’s inspiring to know that the Samurai Blue team is not all about soccer, but about heart as well. With breaking news reporting all 13 members of the “Wild Boars” now successfully rescued from the cave, there’s much to celebrate, soccer uniforms to be worn and amazing soccer shots to be kicked in future.

Source: Twitter/@jfa_samuraiblue via Yahoo! Japan, Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@jfa_samuraiblue