FIFA give World Cup 2018 final tickets to young viral video star
A young Poland fan has landed tickets to the World Cup final after FIFA were moved by a video of him crying in the aftermath of his team's group-stage elimination.
Six-year-old Aleks Meiklejohn was filmed in floods of tears while being consoled by his dad, Iain, after a devastating 3-0 defeat against Colombia in Kazan.
While Iain is from Edinburgh, Scotland, he took Aleks out to Russia to support his mum's native Poland.
Alas, the loss was all too much for the little guy -- though the Colombia fans sitting next to him in the stadium did their best to cheer Aleks up by chanting "Polska, Polska, Polska!"
Wee man was in tears after Poland getting eliminated from the World Cup. The Colombian fans were absolutely fantastic with him after the game - easily the best group of supporters I've ever sat with. Amazing support 👏🏼🇨🇴🇵🇱 #monpolska #fifaworldcup #colombia pic.twitter.com/r1s6JYYWLJ— Iain Meiklejohn (@meiklejohn21) June 24, 2018
However, after hearing about FIFA's #RivalHug social media initiative, Iain decided to submit the footage of Aleks being supported by his new Colombian friends before making the long trip back to Scotland.
"Aleks got a wee bit upset as you would when your team gets put out of the World Cup," Mr Meiklejohn told BBC Radio Scotland.
"All the Colombian fans started to gather round us, started chanting 'Polska, Polska', giving us hats, scarves, patting us on our backs, patting us on our heads.
"It went viral and we have had non-stop communication from all over the world for the last six or seven days. It's been unreal."
As it happens, the Meiklejohns will now be flying back out to Russia later this month after FIFA selected their clip as the #RivalHugs competition winner.
The prize? An all-expenses-paid trip to watch the World Cup final at the Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15.
How thoroughly lovely.
Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.