At 8:32 pm by Moscow time, the high point of the day happened. In the pouring rain, the French captain Hugo Lloris stretched the World Cup trophy in the cloudy sky of Moscow. France are the World Champions. Absolutely deserved. Mounir Zitouni’s comment.
Who win six out of seven matches in normal time (plus a 0:0 draw against Denmark at the end of the preliminary round), who cope with calibers like Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Croatia, who score 14 goals during the tournament, who overrun an opponent such as Croatia after halftime in the final like a TGV-Express, those can receive the World Cup title after four and a half weeks completely deservedly.
It is the second World Cup title since 1998 and it would not be too daring to bet that it will not take another 20 years to take a third title. From today's perspective, it seems simply absurd that this nation had to wait 65 years for the first participation in a World Cup final. France were the first European team to play a match at a World Cup back in 1930 and to win it (4:1 against Mexico in group stage). They were one of four European countries which had taken a long journey to Uruguay. This nation has always loved football and yet the French had to wait for the big bang till the end of the last century. The triumph of Zidane and Co is different. 1998 is not to be counted. Because what has happened in the French football since the end of the 90s of the last century is phenomenal. No nation has been more successful ever since: the World Cup title in 1998, the European Championship win in 2000, the World Cup final in 2006, the Euro 2016 final and now, as a matter of fact, one more global triumph.
The reasons for France's success
The reasons are obvious: the practice of talent formation on the other side of the Rhine is unrivalled, what makes the reservoir of young top players almost inexhaustible. There is also a central structure represented by the national football academy in Clairefontaine which became the hotbed of the French squad’s success. The country also benefits from the historical colonial background, which stimulated gifted children and young people from many colonial countries of the southern hemisphere to move endlessly to France where football often seemed the only means of social mobility. The French youth craves for football. In the Moscow final line-up six players were 25 years old or younger, plus seven other young players were on the bench. And the young ones like Kingsley Coman or Anthony Martial are not even taken into the World Cup squad.
Capacity building is ensured
France has a golden future and does not have to worry about the progress achieved at the local youth boarding schools whose leavers make up professional teams. But in 1990, there was already a world champion who assumed that he would be unbeatable for years. That did not come true at that time. The French will notice too that they are facing new, different challenges as the World Champions. However, L’Equipe Tricolore has such a coach as Didier Deschamps, who was part of a team as captain after the World Cup triumph in 1998, who mastered exactly this task and two years after the World Cup, also won the European Championship. Deschamps will continue making progress. And who knows him, knows that he will not relax for a moment. His next aim is to continue training his team for best results, to replace potential team leavers such as Olivier Giroud, Steve Mandanda or Blaise Matuidi with young players in order to win the Euro in 2020 remaining the reigning World Champions. But for the time being, these are only plans. It was just on Sunday evening when it was about celebrating. In Moscow and particularly in France.
The fact that the players had to wait for ages until the leadership of FIFA together with the leaders of Russia, Croatia and France were finally ready to conduct the ceremony, was only a side issue. Actually, the World Champions should not wait 30 minutes to receive the cup. Of course, the French did not let get them down, they celebrated in the Moscow rain like hilarious children, skimmed across the wet grass, ran around with large and small flags. It was the most wonderful pictures of this memorable evening which brought certainty to France: we are the best in the world. Let's see how this will influence the French football in the future.