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MAE SAI, Thailand – The Latest on the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach in a cave in northern Thailand (all times local):
The Japanese squad that competed at soccer's World Cup in Russia has tweeted a good-luck message to the 12 members of a youth soccer team trapped with their coach in a cave in northern Thailand. The message delivered from the @jfa_samuraiblue urged them in Japanese: "Don't give up! Hang on!" and in English "Hang on! Football Family are with you."
A Thai navy SEAL who has spent time with the boys in the cave has said they asked about the World Cup results.
Japanese Football Association president Kohzo Tashiima afterward praised the national team for sending the public message of support, saying "Japanese players have grown to be able to do these kinds of things naturally, and I realize that Japanese soccer is becoming mature."
"I would like to pray with everyone here so that they are safely rescued," he added at a news conference at Japan's Narita airport. Japan was knocked out of the Cup competition when they were beaten 3-2 by Belgium in the round of 16.
Thailand's king says he is "pleased and greatly relieved" that rescuers have found the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were missing in a cave in the country's mountainous north.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun said in a statement released by the government Thursday and dated the day before that the operation could not have been achieved without the unity, dedication and effort of all involved.
He said he wishes those concerned "proceed in great care, assuredness and wisdom, guided by an unwavering faith so that this rescue effort may fully achieve the ultimate success as all of you have wished."
With more rain coming, Thai rescuers are racing against time to pump out water from inside a flooded cave before they can extract 12 boys and their soccer coach.
A firefighter who has been working on draining the water says levels in parts of a passage leading to a chamber where the boys and the coach were found on Monday after missing for 10 days is still flooded all the way to the ceiling, making diving the only way out.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Wednesday that the team may not all be extracted at the same time depending on their health. He said authorities will evaluate their readiness each day and if there is any risk will not proceed.