Category: AFP

World Cup ‘just the beginning’ for Mbappe-led France

Moscow (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe and another supremely talented generation of French players may just be getting started after overcoming Croatia to win the World Cup in Russia. While the 19-year-old is the poster boy for France’s new crop of talent, the make-up of the squad suggests they have the youth and firepower to dominate international football for years to come. The average age of a fine back four of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez is just 23. Ousmane Dembele, who cost Barcelona 105 million euros ($123 million), played for just two minutes in the knockout ... Read more

Clashes, road accidents mar French World Cup partying

Paris (AFP) – Dozens of youths shattered windows at a popular store on the Champs Elysees avenue Sunday while hundreds of thousands of fans celebrated France’s World Cup victory, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. About 30 people, many wearing ski masks, broke into the Publicis Drugstore and later left with bottles of wine and champagne, some smiling and filming themselves with cellphones.  Some also threw objects at police forces who responded with tear gas. “That’s not how you celebrate,” a tearful bystander wearing a French team jersey said. Elsewhere in France, authorities said clashes erupted in the ... Read more

Ronaldo mania awaits superstar forward after sneaky Juventus arrival

Turin (Italy) (AFP) – A Turin hit by Cristiano Ronaldo fever awaits the striker on Monday as Juventus prepare to unveil the surprise signing, that after the end of the World Cup, puts all eyes on the Italian champions and Serie A. Juventus shirts emblazoned with “Ronaldo” and the number 7 have been selling like hotcakes, while 5,000 shopkeepers in the north-western city are putting up posters that read “Bem-vindo!” — welcome in Portuguese. One ice-cream parlour in Turin has even invented a “CR7” cone, featuring a Portuguese cherry liquor and chocolate shavings. “The wait is over”, wrote major sports ... Read more

Deschamps’ World Cup win a triumph for substance over style

Moscow (AFP) – Didier Deschamps’ France side have not always won admirers for their way of playing at this World Cup, but that will not matter to the hundreds of thousands celebrating on the streets back home after their final victory over Croatia. France won 4-2 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday, with star men Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe all scoring as they lifted the trophy for the second time in their history. They are the first team to score four times in the final since Pele’s great Brazil side beat Italy 4-1 in Mexico ... Read more

From Maradona’s antics to Neymar’s theatrics – five World Cup moments

Moscow (AFP) – A thrilling World Cup came to its conclusion as France beat Croatia in Sunday’s final in Moscow, but there have been plenty of unusual incidents on the pitch and on the sidelines in Russia. Here, AFP Sport looks at five of the best offbeat stories from the 2018 World Cup: Maradona’s two-fingered salute Diego Maradona will always be remembered as one of the greatest players of all-time for his exploits in 1986, but he became an increasing attraction for ridicule in Russia. The 57-year-old made an obscene gesture from the VIP box to celebrate Argentina’s dramatic 2-1 ... Read more

What France’s heroes said after World Cup triumph

Moscow (AFP) – France won their second World Cup title on Sunday with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Here, AFP Sport picks out some of the best quotes from France’s new World Cup winners: “I don’t know where I am… I’m very happy, it was a very difficult match. We can’t wait to lift the cup and bring it back to France.” — Forward Antoine Griezmann, who scored the second goal from the penalty spot. “Sleep comes easy to me, but I’m not going to bed, we are going to celebrate this. ... Read more

Modric says Golden Ball ‘bittersweet’ after World Cup defeat

Moscow (AFP) – Croatia captain Luka Modric said being awarded the Golden Ball for the World Cup’s best player was “bittersweet” after losing the final 4-2 to France on Sunday. “Obviously I liked the recognition and thanks to those who chose me, but clearly I would have preferred to have won the World Cup,” said the Real Madrid midfielder. “It wasn’t to be and now we will rest and in the coming days celebrate this because it is still a huge thing for Croatia, but right now the feeling is bittersweet. “We are proud of what we have done, but ... Read more

France World Cup win ‘as beautiful’ as 1998 victory for Deschamps

Moscow (AFP) – Didier Deschamps said France were “swimming in happiness” after his players interrupted his post-World Cup final press conference, dancing and showering their manager in drinks as they celebrated their 4-2 win over Croatia. The coach was about to start speaking when the squad came into the room packed full of journalists at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, with defender Benjamin Mendy leading the celebrations as he danced with his shirt off. Deschamps then tried to compose himself to give his view on France’s second World Cup triumph — he was the captain of the team that won ... Read more