Friday, January 27, 2023

Thousands cheer France after final loss

PARIS ( Associated Press) – Thousands of French fans cheered in central Paris on Monday for the return of the national team that lost to Argentina a day earlier in one of the most thrilling finals in World Cup history.

Kylian Mbappé and his entourage, arriving from Doha, landed at Charles de Gaulle airport shortly after 8 p.m. and deplaned with a sullen air.

Smiling, some airport staff held up signs saying “Thank you” and “Paris love you”, which hardly elicited a response from those selected.

Tired and dejected after the defeat on penalties in Qatar, the players boarded buses that took them to the Place de la Concorde, where a crowd of fans awaited them, eager to comfort them.

On the other hand, the mood of the selected ones improved.

Unlike what happened in 2018, when France won the title in Russia, the players did not parade down the Champs-Élysées avenue this time.

But it didn’t matter to the fans. They warmly welcomed Les Bleus on a cold winter night.

Many people lit flames, waved flags and sang “La Marseillaise” as footballer and manager Didier Deschamps leaned out of the balcony of the Hotel de Crillon.

In his first message posted on Instagram and Twitter after Sunday’s shock, Mbappe posted a picture showing him bowing his head against the World Cup trophy, with the message: “We will be back.”

More than 24 million people – eight out of 10 viewers – watched the final on French channel TF1, setting a record.

Despite failing to retain the scepter, France played a leading role in a memorable final. A hat-trick from Mbappé helped Les Bleus draw 3–3 with Argentina after extra time, leading to a penalty shootout.

Nation World News Desk
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