World Cup 2018: Apart from their win, French lauded for ‘diversity in team’

On Sunday, France won their second World Cup after 20 years with a 4-2 victory over their counterpart, Croatia.

Didier Deschamps is the third person to win the World Cup as a player and manager, after Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer.

“It’s so beautiful, so wonderful,” Deschamps told French TV channel TF1. “I’m really happy for this group… It wasn’t always easy, but by working hard, listening, they are on top of the world for four years.”

“We also scored four goals. We merit it. I am very happy for this team. We are coming from very far and it has not always been easy, but thanks to hard work, they are here and are on top of the world for the next four years,” he added.

France led 2-1 at halftime after Mario Mandzukic scoring a goal and an Antoine Griezmann VAR penalty. Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, midway through the second half struck goals, after which followed Mandzukic’s.

France’s national team comprises players of Arab and African descent, which includes 19-year-old prodigy Kylian Mbappe, of Cameroonian and Algerian descent and Paul Pogba, whose parents are Guinean.

They hail from marginalised suburbs surrounding major French cities, known as the “banlieues”.

“Whether it’s at school or outside in the neighbourhood, everyone will play football. And that helps [keep people away from] doing stupid things,” said Pogba. “Every day, it’s the ball. That’s all there is.”

“These kids have roots in specific countries and culture [and] are proud of their heritage, and perhaps more importantly, they are proud of one another’s heritage,”Pierrot, the professor and author said. “And that is what makes them French: France – the concrete place and the imagined community is where they all meet.

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