World champions get heroes’ welcome in Paris

Ruben Hill
July 17, 2018

Goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe after in the second half all but secured a second World Cup trophy for the French despite Croatia's best efforts to launch a comeback courtesy of a Hugo Lloris howler allowing Mandzukic to poke in from close range.

And it didn't stop there: In the team's dressing room, France's left back Benjamin Mendy and midfielder Paul Labile Pogba taught the president how to "dab" in celebration of the win, with the whole thing caught on camera.

The players lined up to sing the national anthem with the packed square thundering in joy.

Sports Minister Laura Flessel told Europe-1 radio that the World Cup victory allows France's youth - like those in the poor suburbs where numerous players grew up - "to dare to believe in their dreams".

But the French and Croatians were far from the only nations to enjoy their performances in Russian Federation. "All we want is a wave from the players".

Some analysts believe the 40-year-old centrist will benefit from the feelgood factor sweeping France, with Macron able to show a common touch after months of criticism from his opponents that he is distant and elitist. There were also photos of the team holding and kissing the winning trophy in the rain.

The success has been described as the biggest in Croatia's sporting history, boosting national pride and sense of unity in the country that fought a war to become independent from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Observers made note of the youth of the team, as well as how many players are of central and North African heritage. Sixteen of the 23 French soccer players are from immigrant families. They last won in 1998 when they hosted the tournament.

The Paris public transportation system also got into the celebratory spirit.

The transport authority tweeted on Monday that the Champs-Elysees Clemenceau has become the Deschamps-Elysees Clemenceau to honor national team coach Didier Deschamps.

Notre-Dame des Champs station was renamed "Notre Didier Deschamps". He is clearly hoping the World Cup victory glow rubs off on him, raising him up in a nation that is fiercely protesting his economic reforms. There were many broken windows, an overturned auto and drawings on walls that included the phrase "Liberte, Egalite, Mbappe". The players' bus travelled for hours, often stopping when it was blocked by the crowds. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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