All-conquering French team arrives to rousing welcome

May JohnsonJul 18, 2018

The World Cup-winning French team returned home Monday, parading down the Champs-Elysees as hundreds of thousands of cheering fans gave a raucous welcome to the country's newest idols.

The two directors of "Les Bleus", Emmanuel Le Ber and Théo Schuster, lived with the French football team for more than two months, following the players, coaches, and staff as they prepared at France's national football center, Clairefontaine.

2018 FIFA World Champions, France comprehensively beat Croatia 4-2 to claim the World cup for the second time ever. Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: "We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight".

With the golden World Cup trophy in hand, France's victorious national team is returning home to a grand "Merci!" from a grateful nation that was sorely in need of a boost.

World Cup, World Cup and more World Cup - that's all France is talking about.

Deschamps, who was soaked by champagne by his overjoyed players in a chaotic press conference, said the win was "just as big and just as beautiful" as the 1998 triumph.

Macron told the team after gathering again outside.

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Around 1,000 youths from local soccer clubs across the country, including the gritty Bondy suburb which produced Mbappe, are expected as guests at the reception at the Elysee presidential palace. "All we want is a wave from the players".

Sports minister Laura Flessel said on Europe-1 radio that the victory allows France's youth - like those in the poor suburbs where numerous players grew up - "to dare to believe in their dreams". Thanks to the group, we made history. "They're young and they're happy", said a grinning, wet Deschamps after the players had left.

Only 39 percent of those polled by Odoxa said Macron was a good president, a 2 percentage point decrease since Odoxa's last poll on June 26.

Notre-Dame des Champs station was relabelled "Notre Didier Deschamps", and Victor Hugo was switched to "Victor Hugo Lloris" after the captain and goalkeeper.

In an open-top bus, France were taken through Paris with the trophy held aloft, the public screaming their adulation at their heroes as they were driven down the Champs-Elysees amid clouds of flare smoke. A number of smashed windows, an overturned auto and graffiti scrawled here and there, including the phrase "Liberte, Egalite, Mbappe", a reference to the national motto "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite".

Kylian Mbappe: Mbappe, just 19, scored twice against Argentina to overshadow Lionel Messi and announce his arrival as a superstar.

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