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Les Bleus: thank you for the memories!

Mes Amis, this is my final post on the World Cup tournament. 😃

We came to the end of a wonderful World Cup tournament two weeks ago and I already have wonderful long lasting memories. I just want to look back on a few moments. 

THE SUPPORTERS

The fans were incredible from the very beginning. They soaked in the atmosphere of the game and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t hear of any hooligan reports which was good. Some French fans said the locals were very accommodating and allowed them to couch surf. 

DIDIER DESCHAMPS

Deschamps implemented discipline and a sense of togetherness in this young team. He even showed Jose Mourinho how to get the best out of Paul Pogba. 😉 One of my favorite moment is when some of the players gatecrashed his post-conference, chanting his name. It shows that the players have a special bond with him regardless of what the media thinks.

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LES BLEUS

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The various backgrounds blending together really enriched the squad.

They didn’t start well, but they grew during the tournament. When I look back at their victory against Croatia, I’ll always remember Les Bleus standing in the pouring rain, golden confetti stuck to their skin and sparkling in their hair, as they hoist the trophy over their heads. They deserved this victory. They and their people.

THE EMIR PRINCE OF QATAR SHEIKH TAMIM

The French media praised him for offering his front-row seat to the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. Little things that the media don’t talk about, but I want to highlight it anyway. 

THE FRENCH & CROATIAN PRESIDENTS

Emmanuel Macron was such a delight! After his team won the WC, his animated display made one of the best highlight and iconic photo when he lept to his feet and punch the air. Credit goes to Alexei Nikolsky for this superb capture!

Golden Glove - Thibout Courtios

His celebration with the team in the locker room – notably with Mendy and Pogba who got him to dab – made headlines.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: French President Emmanuel Macron dabs with Paul Pogba during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Monsieur Président so chill, eh?

What’s the purpose of the dab anyway and didn’t that fad fade away? Anyway, I loved watching Macron and the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović embracing the players in the pouring rain. One can see the genuine warmth and affection they had for the players.

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kylian Mbappe of France with the FIFA Young Player Award as President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic look on following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Putin is smugly standing under his umbrella watching the other two presidents get wet. What poor protocol! They are guests in Moscow and one of them is a woman. Macron took time to visit the Croatian players and the madam did the same for the French players.

However, people can’t get over that the Monsieur and the Madam were too close during the game. Someone even asked if she was his wife. 

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No, this is his wife:

Patriotic: Macron donned a navy suit and tie as well as a red, white, and blue rubber bracelet that matches France's tricolor flag

 Lloris looks at the pair with such fondness! 

I’m thankful for the French memories.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

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Kudos to you, Russia, for organizing an unforgettable tournament! It’s the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since 1998 and I can only say, merci beaucoup.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search save the last GIF which was my attempt at creating my first GIF. 😄 It didn’t work out how I planned it, but that’s what practice is for. 

Football ⚽

Welcome to the quarter-finals!

These teams are here for they played hard and fought even harder. Uruguay and France played with passion and joy. Brazil with attitude (and Neymar slipping one too many times for many fans liking!), Belgium with pride, Russia with determination, Croatia with heart, Sweden with focus and England with pleasure. 

This World Cup is the most entertaining I’ve witnessed since France 1998. It was mostly unpredictable from the first whistle, although I got all of mine right. Some teams stole my heart all over again (Japan, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mexico) and some teams played beautiful football but were unable to it make to the round of 16 (Morocco and Tunisia). Some teams still need improvement (Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Serbia) and some teams were present, but their mindset wasn’t (Argentina, Poland, and Germany).

And I still love you, Iceland!

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THE QUARTER-FINALISTS

Uruguay v France – July 06th @10 am

I love these two teams. Whichever one wins I’ll be happy, but I’m leaning more towards Les Bleus. They’ve played some of the best football during the tournament although they didn’t start off convincingly prompting the Danish coach to say that we’re nothing special. Well, we might not be anything special, but we’re giving it our all and we deserve to be here. The boys are not going home without a good fight. 

France is the youngest team in the quarter-finals and I know I’m always stressing on this, but I’m going to stress on it anyway: Room. For. Improvement. Despite playing our best game against Argentina and despite playing with beautiful passion, I still see room for improvement, especially at the back. We need to tighten defense and we need a stronger flowing rhythm in midfield. At the end of the day, we’re all about teamwork and it’s the reason why we’ve reached this far.

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Uruguay also did a fine job at shutting the critics up and Edison Cavani finally stepped out of Luis Suárez’s shadow and lost his scapegoat status. Antoine Greizmann is looking forward to this match because of his Atlético teammate, good friend, and godfather to his daughter, Diego Godin. Because of Godin, Greizmann feels half Uruguayan as he has immersed himself in their culture, language, and tradition. However, Suárez thinks Greizmann should stop pretending to be Uruguayan. 🙄 Like, dude, todo bien! I love Uruguayan culture and know some Uruguayan-isms and I love listening to the gentle Uruguayan Spanish coming from El Matador’s mouth, but I have no claims to be an Uruguayan… not even if I can move to the rhythm like Cavani!

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It’s the same thing with French culture. I do consider myself a Francophile but at the end of the day, I do not feel or want to be French despite having French in my family.

Griezmann gave the country a beautiful compliment, so shut up, take it, and stop being so literal. At this time, we’re still unsure about the extent of Cavani’s injury, but it’s most likely he won’t start/face the French. I think Uruguay might make the mistake of focusing on Kylian Mbappé and this can cost them, so I hope that this won’t be the case. 

  

I won’t be able to talk about the other 6 teams like this, but I think nothing less of them.

Brazil v Belgium – July 06th @2 pm

This is going to be a good match! Brazil has a great team, but one of the reasons they’re turning fans off everywhere is due to Neymar’s unnecessary falling to the ground and then making a spectacle out of it by rolling around as if he got hit by Jack Reacher.

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Sometimes, he’s barely touched and down he goes, flopping on his back and then proceeds to imitate a rolling rock. This display is appalling. Even a bar in Rio de Janeiro had invented a new drinking game: free shots every time he falls down. And this was during Brazil’s crucial game during Serbia. Dude, leave the acting to Tom Cruise.

Although I’m not a fan of Brazil, I have nothing but love for Marcelo. 

Brazil vs. Switzerland: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Belgium is having an amazing time at this tournament! Their football makes me smile. They’ve produced exceptional players and this generation is crafting a name for themselves. I won’t underestimate them for they’re capable of springing surprises. I don’t know why, but I’m feeling a France-Belgium semi-final showdown, but like I said, I won’t take anything away from these teams for it can also be an Uruguay-Brazil/Belgium showdown. 

Belgium vs. Japan: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Sweden v England – July 07th @10 am

Sweden’s football might not be the most beautiful, but their focus is on another level. Many have said that they wouldn’t have strived without their talisman, but they’re proving that life without Zlatan is actually sweet.

Germany vs. Sweden: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

As for England, this is the best I’ve seen them and they’re giving their nation hope of winning it all. When Gareth Southgate came on, despite not getting the backing, I just knew that he was going to be the one to propel England to greatness and Harry Kane is simply a joy to watch even more so than David Beckham.

     

Russia v Croatia – July 07th @2 pm

Even before the tournament kicked off last month, Russia was written off. Although I chose Russia and Uruguay to advance from the group stage, the odds were expecting Egypt to advance with Uruguay. But even after advancing, the Russians were still written off, but when they beat Spain to remain in the tournament, many people started taking them seriously. And who would’ve thought it, eh? That the host nation was going to give a good fight? I am happy with their progress.

Spain vs. Russia: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

I’ve come to love Croatia a long time ago. I believe that’s when I saw them participate in France 1998 and… wait, today is the 4th of July! On this day, 20 years ago, Croatia handed Germany a 3-0 defeat in Lyon, France during the 1998 tournament! That was the first game I saw the Croatians play and they stole a piece of my heart. Just like that.

Although I didn’t get to watch most of their games this tournament, they played with heart and proved critics wrong. They deserve to be here. They can go on and win this thing and they know it.

     

All the best to everyone and don’t forget to check your local schedule for listings.

*** GIFs and images via Google Search and Zimbio