Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

July 15th: a special day! 💙

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How have you been? I’ve been well and while things on my end are cooling down, I’m not sure if I’ll be returning to blogging full time as yet. Anyways, I’ll leave this for another time. I want to see how this week goes first. So, it’s July 15th and a very special day for me. 😄

Les Bleus

It’s exactly one year since Les Bleus won the prestigious World Cup. Going into that WC, France was not one of the most prepared team, but during the tournament, Didier Deschamps went from strength to strength with each game. Although France produces some of the world’s best players (ask the EPL and the La Liga), they were not outright favorites going into the tournament. Many were favoring Germany, Argentina, and even Portugal. Many fans rooted for Croatia in the final because society demands that we root for the underdog. What does that accomplish in football? 

Legend has it that I am still celebrating our victory… Okay, I’m not. I’m actually over it. 

Speaking of football, I am delighted that Antoine Griezmann is now a part of FC Barcelona! 🎊 With 5 French players on the team, FCB is slowly turning into FC Francelona! 😅

This season of football is going to be interesting and I look forward to what Griezmann is going to bring to his new team. 😄

Birthday Girl

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Another reason why July 15th is so special? It’s the day my best friend and little sis was born! You guys may know her as Tammy over on Godinspiredart, but to me, she’s more than just Tammy. She’s a woman after God’s heart, a ray of sunshine, an inspiration, my best friend and little sister! She’s multi-talented and she uses them all for God’s glory. 

One day, I’ll tell you guys how God made us meet. 💙😃

Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie! May you continue to chase after God’s heart and may He shower you with blessings and grace in Jesus’ Name. All the best on this special day as you celebrate the gift of life which was given by the King and may today be one of the most memorable of the year! 💙🎂

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

Photo belongs to Tammy. She was gracious in letting me use it. 💙

And since it’s the beginning of a bright and new week, happy Monday everyone! 

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***GIFs via Google Search

Entertainment

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 ⚽

N’Golo Kanté: unsung hero of the World Cup

The engine of France and a beautiful soul.

The first time I saw N’golo, he was creating havoc in the midfield at Leicester City in 2015. The other time I took notice of him, he was individually greeting the staff of Clairefontaine with a big smile on his face. That was 2016 when he was called up for Les Bleus. Over time, I’ve come to realize that he is extremely polite, quiet, humble and he smiles a lot. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. This, I can guarantee. He lives a simple life and doesn’t have a drop of arrogance. The man is worth millions and he still drives to work with a second-hand Mini Cooper.

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During France’s amazing run in the 2018 World Cup, many were in awe of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappé and rightly so, but one man was not getting the credit he deserved – well, 3 inclusive of Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud, but this is not about them – and that is N’Golo Kanté. At only 5’6″ he is the anchor of the French midfield and made Pogba look good. He covers a lot of ground and he reads the game brilliantly. 

Kanté did not have the best match in the World Cup final and had to be subbed off in the second half. Afterward, we learned that he played with a stomach bug.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Coach Didier Deschamps summed up our shy midfielder best:

“N’Golo is a real ray of sunshine, a true joy. When he came off, I asked him if he was OK. His quiet reply was: ‘No, no, do not worry – I am fine, coach.’ Everybody loves N’Golo – he is a little phenomenon.”

Kante (left) shakes hands with a member of plane staff as fellow France midfielder Corentin Tolisso (right) watches on

And his teammates simply love him! His French mates sung his heroics after they won the World Cup. Here’s how it went down:

🎶N’Golo Kanté. Phalalalala
Il est petit
Il est gentil
Il a stoppé Leo Messi
Mais on sait tous
C’est un tricheur
N’golo Kante

“He is short, he is nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater (at cards).” Haha! Right, as if he’ll ever cheat at cards! But the chant was not meant to be taken seriously and Kanté was almost embarrassed by the praises his teammates showered upon him. He was like, “No, we stopped him (Messi) together!” 😃They even changed the lyrics to welcome him to the Champs-Élysées. 

During World Cup celebrations on the pitch with the trophy, Kanté was so shy to ask for the trophy himself so he can pose for a photo in the heavy pouring rain with it, that Steven Nzonzi had to take the trophy after Florian Thauvin posed with it and hand it to Kanté. This epic photo is the result:

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This man works hard and shuns the nightlife. In 3 years, he has won 2 EPL titles (with Leicester and Chelsea), an FA Cup (with Chelsea) and a World Cup (with France). He was also the EPL Player of the Year in 2017. A humble, polite, and hard worker who is not interested in selling his image and flaunting his wealth? Many other footballers need to get on his level. I hope I won’t have to take my words back in the future! 😉

MERCI KANTÉ AND NEVER STOP SMILING. 😄😄

Football ⚽

The goal of the tournament! ⚽

After this post, I believe that there are just three more posts to go before I get back to regular scheduling. Until July 23rd, you can vote for the goal of the tournament on FIFA here: Goal of the tournament but I already know who my winner is regardless of the end result from the very first time I saw it.  

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Benjamin Pavard v Argentina

LE PLUS BEAU BUT DU MONDIAL!

INCROYABLE!

The curly head defender’s wonder goal changed the entire match. For me, it’s the best goal of the tournament and the best goal of the year. It was a wicked glorious ice-cold beauty which delighted not only the fans of Les Bleus but also the footballing world. 

Other goals I loved:

Ángel Di María v France

This was such an amazing goal!

Edinson Cavani v Portugal 

He is too good with his head!

Football ⚽

Rain pours down on France as they celebrate World Cup title. 🏆

The tournament is over, but I’ll be wrapping up WC blogs this week.

July 15th, 2018 is a day that I'll always remember 

July 15th, 2018. 

Another unforgettable experience in my book. France won the World Cup for the second time and it was also my bestie’s birthday. 💙

France faced Croatia in the final of the World Cup and won 4-2 in what was an entertaining final. Les Bleus took the lead on 18 minutes when Mario Mandžukić scored an own goal from an Antoine Greizmann freekick. I dislike his Fortnight celebration, though. 

     

Croatia equalized in the 28′ from a wicked left-footed finish via Ivan Perišić and it was game on for both sides!

     

In the 36′ France was awarded a penalty after the use of VAR decided that Perišić handled the ball. After what seemed like ages, Griezmann converted from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

     

In the 59′ Paul Pogba missed with his right foot, but he made no mistake with the left curling home a great effort that extended France’s lead.

Six minutes later, Kylian Mbappé joins the party with a wicked strike to put the French in the driving seat.

There were no more goals to come from the French, but Hugo Lloris made a disastrous error in the 69′ which saw Mandžukić pull one back for Croatia. 

     

Other than that, Lloris had a great game. 

France did not lose a game in this tournament and they performed well to the very end. Croatia also had the tournament of their lives. There were some fans whining about possession, but here’s a news flash: modern football is not about statistics and it certainly does not care about possession for possession does not win games. You have to be decisive in front of goal and the French were just that. 

And nature came out to celebrate victory with the French after winning their second WC after 20 years. 

     

France Achievements:

1998: World Cup champions

2000: Euro champions

2006: World Cup finalists

2016: Euro finalists

2018: World Cup champions

Vive la France et vive la République!

  

Entertainment

And then there were two

Croatia beat England 2-1 last evening to claim a spot in the final to face the French. Was there ever any doubt about the Croatians? They’ve been consistent throughout the tournament. What also motivated them, according to Luka Modric, was the English arrogance. English pundits and journalists were showing their disrespect to Croatia and they weren’t having any of that. 

 

So, the Croatians will meet the French on Sunday for a thrilling – and hopefully, epic – final. The French camp refuses to get ahead of themselves and captain Hugo Lloris said it best:

Sometime during my semi-final write up, I said that Croatia knows that they have what it takes to win it all, and although I am satisfied with how far they’ve come, I’ll be supporting Les Bleus all the way be it victory or defeat. 

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

*** Photos and GIF via Google Search

Entertainment

C’est Magnifique! 🇫🇷

Umtiti scored the only goal – a great header in the 51′ – to beat Belgium and put France in the final since 2006 last evening. This is their second final in two years (2016, they reached the Euro final only to lose to Portugal) and this is their now or never moment. France did not reach the final because of one man, it was a team effort.

Belgium vs. France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Belgium was lucky that France had poor finishing in this match for they could’ve had 3 goals more at the final whistle. We were effective on the offense as well in defense. They dominated the match with less possession in the second half and did not allow Belgium to create any chances. But Belgium should hold their heads up and be happy for they played a great game so hats off to them.

Les Bleus, it’s been quite a journey and you’ve proved many doubters wrong over and over again. The final is the last stop so let’s make it count.

Allez les bleus!

     

Tous ensemble vers la finale!

Entertainment

Allez Les Bleus! 🇫🇷 🇫🇷

It’s the semi-finals of the World Cup today! France takes on Belgium in a matter of hours, but Les Bleus have a history of royally messing things up so whether victory or defeat, ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

My World Cup book over on Wattpad is currently number 1 in the World Cup 2018 category and it may not mean anything given that the rankings always seem to change, but I am grateful for the number of readers who have been supporting the book from day one. 💙

Allez Allez Allez

Allez! Allez! Allez!