During his first ever visit to Afghanistan, Prime Minister David Cameron had something extra special up his sleeve for the soldiers stationed in the war-torn zone.
A day ahead of the start of the World Cup, the British leader read out a message of support from England coach Fabio Capello.
"It is important you know how much all your efforts mean to all the players and staff with the England team," read the message.
"Your brave service to your country means so much to the players and we will all have complete respect for the incredible sacrifices that you and your families have made.
While we will be doing all we can to achieve success in South Africa for the whole country we want you know that we believe that you are the real heroes."
In his own speech to the troops, Mr Cameron retold a series of inspiring acts by members of the armed services, before concluding: "I've got to tell you: most people couldn't do your job. I couldn't do your job, people at home couldn't do your job. But we are incredibly proud that you do do your job."
The Conservative leader spent time with the servicemen in their canteen and even joined them on their early morning run.
He got a taste of the threat from the Taliban when his helicopter flight was diverted after militants were heard planning to attack an unnamed VIP. He had originally been headed for the isolated Shazad patrol base in Helmand province.