"Les Bleus", a dynamic, young team that won an open, fast-paced final 4-2 with Croatia in Moscow, appeared at the Elysee palace, where they burst into a spontaneous rendition of the "La Marseillaise" national anthem with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife.
With Luka Modric most likely having played his last major global tournament at 32, and several of his teammates, including Ivan Rakitic (30) and the 32-year-old Mario Mandzukic, in the twilight of their careers, Croatia's presence in the World Cup final is an event unlikely to be repeated soon.
"It gives me pleasure that guests and fans liked it in Russia, that they have given a high assessment of our hospitality and warm welcome, of our sports facilities, of our transportation infrastructure, our social spaces, the services and the work of volunteers, medics and communal services, the police and other security services", the Russian leader added. Dalic's future is still unclear despite having a contract until 2020. Vladimir Putin attended the opening match a month ago in Moscow, a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia that kicked off a surprising quarterfinal run for the home team. Robert Lewandowski was easily the worst superstar at this World Cup.
2014 champs Germany entered the summer as one of the clear-cut favorites and were considered by many a safe bet to at least reach the semifinals in typical German fashion.
Mbappe, who applied the coup de grace in the final to cement his place as a new global superstar at just 19, said he achieved what he had set out to do - win the World Cup.
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Perhaps the Germans' misfortune - just like that of previous winners Spain, Italy and France in the ensuing tournament following a title - will serve as a cautionary tale to the latest world champions in four years' time. Their stories represent the span of the entire globe, all connecting to bring home a trophy for the country of France. The tournament's official song, "Live It Up", has showed up at World Cup stadiums about as often as Putin himself.
On the other hand, Croatia has defied logic on this once already.
Time will tell if the rewards many reaped for taking that risk emboldens others to do the same in the near future. Deadly in this World Cup.
The score was 2-1 at half-time, Griezmann converting from the penalty spot after Mandzukic's own goal. He is clearly hoping the World Cup victory glow rubs off on him, raising him up in a nation that is fiercely protesting his economic reforms. The awards based on judgment calls are more up in the air.
"We were dominant, we had control", Dalic said through a translator.