France and Croatia at full strength for World Cup final

Mario Zagallo, Franz Beckenbauer – and now Didier Deschamps. His picture graced most newspapers on Sunday as French hopes soar that they can bring the World Cup home for a second time.


GK Hugo Lloris, 5 – It was all going relatively smoothly, Perisic’s unstoppable first-half goal aside, but then the skipper inexplicably gifted Mandzukic a second for Croatia to confirm his least impressive performance of the whole World Cup that not even a strong save from Ante Rebic’s shot could improve. President Emmanuel Macron, who travelled to Moscow to watch the final with his wife Brigitte, hugged the players after the win and stood with them in the pouring rain.

His thoughts echoed those of star midfielder Paul Pogba, who had celebrated the team’s diversity last week, saying: “There are people of many different origins, that’s what makes France so attractive”. He won the two French titles and the Champions League with Marseille before winning the European cup as well as Serie A three times, with Juventus.

None of Africa’s five teams made it past the group stage in Russian Federation, with Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco managing only three wins between them.

‘There are two teams and one cup.

French fans Gabriel Martin (L) and Mehdi Balamissa pose with national flags on Red Square in Moscow on July 13, 2018, before Sunday’s Russian Federation 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia. Les Blues semi-final win over Belgium was Deschamps 82nd match in charge as the coach of the national side.

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He said: ‘How marvellous! “We worked hard defensively, we needed to take advantage a bit more in the counter-attacks but congratulations to my players and my staff”, he said.

“We worked for it. Man, it’s incredible”.

“We’re a country that’s under too much pressure”.

MF Marcelo Brozovic, – 6 Put in lots of work in midfield and had some good, long passes, but he also missed several tackles and was vulnerable in the air. It is the supreme coronation. “We will be sad today and tomorrow but after some weeks we will be proud of this team”.

“It’s just astonishing what they’ve done”, said Josh, 41, who travelled from Brittany to Paris to watch the match with his girlfriend. “It’s fantastic. We knew we can do it, and we did it, and it’s awesome”, he said, cheers erupting in the room behind him.

“I am really emotional”, she said.


Before the match, the French actor Omar Sy had described the team as “happiness creators”, lauding the fact that French flags were on display in every corner of the country, “which aren’t hostile or nationalist flags – just the flag taking back its real colours”. We went in a little shy and we let go of that bit by bit and we were able to make the difference.

Luka Modric