Thai Football Team Rescued in Cave Gifted Croatian Shirts

Wild Boars soccer players and their coach arrive for their news conference in Chiang Rai Thailand

Wild Boars soccer players and their coach arrive for their news conference in Chiang Rai Thailand

"Bringing the Wild Boars Home", read a banner in Thai that greeted the soccer team on the set, created to resemble a soccer field, complete with goalposts and nets, where the boys sat on a dais, beside five members of the rescue team.

The "Wild Boars" team members looked healthy and happy as they answered questions about the nine days they spent in the dark before being discovered by members of an global rescue team.

Looking healthy after their 18-day ordeal, the boys recounted the moment they were first found by British divers helping the rescue effort in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province.

Their 25-year-old coach, who some parents credit for keeping the boys aged 11 to 16 alive, explained they only planned on exploring the cave for an hour, so they didn't bring any food.

The hard mission to save the group captured the world's attention, with heads of state, celebrities and even soccer stars at the World Cup in Russian Federation sending good wishes and messages of hope to the boys and the team of divers and rescue experts.

When asked how did they feel when they first saw the British divers in the flooded cave, one of the boys said, "When he emerged I said hello".

Croatian FA president Davor Suker made the decision today to send the boys all a Croatian World Cup playing shirt.

On Wednesday, the boys and their coach sat down for their first press conference to talk about their ordeal.

"We drank water from stalactites".

Two Australian divers who helped rescue 12 boys from a flooded cave in Thailand will receive civilian honours, PM Malcolm Turnbull says.

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Members of the rescued soccer team attend a press conference discussing their experience being trapped in the cave in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

The boys mourned over the volunteer diver, a former Navy SEAL who died in the rescue operation, apologizing to families and those who joined the rescue for their carelessness.

Asked about what they were doing in the cave.

After realizing they were trapped, Ekapol said the group tried to get out of the cave through the same route they came in but failed due to the high water, as many sections of the kilometers-long cave had become flooded by the monsoon rains.

The 50-year-old was one of the divers who guided boys through the murky waters and narrow passageways in a scenario deemed one of the most risky cave divers have ever faced.

A translator at the event - which was timed to air as a segment of the Thailand Moving Forward show, on a government channel, said that the boys have been declared physically and emotionally ready to return to society.

The Wild Boars team had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for what was to be a relaxing excursion after football practice.

They were found almost two weeks after they became trapped by British divers. One of the youngest boys said he tried not to think about food, but found it hard to stop thinking about fried rice.LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty ImagesREACHING SAFETYOn the day of their rescue, the boys were busy digging when they heard the sound of people talking.

Everyone was very sad. He taught the boys to meditate, as a way to save their energy and calm them down. Rising waters and plummeting oxygen levels convinced rescue workers that something needed to be done sooner rather than later, despite the fact that expert divers said the cave posed some of the toughest conditions they'd ever faced.

Government spokesman Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said doctors and psychologists were participating in the news conference to filter questions and ensure the boys' well-being. They were able to see their families through a glass, while wearing hospital gowns and masks. They huddled on a patch of dry ground deep inside the cave.

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