Four years ago, 33 miners became trapped in a collapsed copper-gold mine in Copiapó, Chile. The miners were buried for 69 days, 2,300 feet underground, before being rescued by the Chilean government. All of “Los 33” — The 33 — survived, in a tale of incredible determination and will, and now the 33 men are back to support their home country ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Bank of Chile released an inspirational ad ahead of the games featuring all of the survivors of the mining accident who emerged triumphantly. Miner Mario Sepulveda headlined the patriotic spot, and gave “a moving speech telling Chile’s team to courageously fight against all odds, remembering how the miners overcame death itself,” according to The Associated Press.
Chile features a challenge in Group B of the World Cup, where they will face 2010 finalists Spain and the Netherlands, in what has been called the “Group of Death.”
“We were trapped in this place for 70 days; the earth had swallowed us, and it was here that we had to find out what we were made of,” The Guardian translates Sepulveda’s words. “We knew that outside there were millions of Chileans who believed in us — and this earth witnessed it all.”
Then the miners each reach down and scoop up a handful of Atacama sand, which they seal inside metal flasks to send as inspiration to the Chilean team in Brazil.
“Thats why we will take this dirt to the pitch where OUR team will practice to fill it with hope and courage. And to show the world, that for a Chilean nothing is impossible. Spain is difficult, Ireland is difficult, the group of death does not scare us! We do not care about death! Because death has not beaten us before!”