France bring WC trophy to Paris with 4-2 win against first-ever finalist Croatia
France emerged champions of the 21st FIFA World Cup with a 4-2 win against the first-ever finalist Croatia in the final at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, in Russia on July15.
France returned home winning the trophy for the second time in 20 years -- after 1998 -- of the 32-team world mega event, and received a loud reception at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport before they paraded through the capital city to wave their hand to hundreds of thousands of supporters on July 16.
Fans celebrated the victories across France overnight and the red carpet welcome for the World Cup winners continued as the President Emmanuel Macron threw an informal garden party that had 1,000 children and 300 athletes from local soccer clubs as guests at the Elysee Palace on Monday.
Team captain and goalie Hugo Lloris, waving the World Cup trophy, and coach Didier Deschamps, led the team onto the red carpet at the Elysee courtyard with Republican Guards standing motionless in full dress uniforms. The squad quickly broke into party mode for the official photos.
The honour for Croatian team started with their president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as she smiled in defeat and hugged every player of both teams as the winners were given their medals.
The scene of supporting her country at the stadium in Russia throughout the knockout stages amazed all and has made Kolinda an iconic celebrity among the world's football loving people.
Croatia had a flamboyant homecoming reception in an outburst of national pride and joy for their best finish in a World Cup as thousands gathered in Bana Jelacica Square in Zagreb on Monday. Observers described the homecoming event as the biggest ever in Croatia.
Individual achievements at a glance:
# Champion's team forward Kylian Mbappe scored his side's fourth goal and won the tournament's best young player award. He is only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final after Pele in 1958.
#England captain Harry Kane won the Golden Boot after finishing as the World Cup's top scorer.
# Croatia's captain Luka Modric winning the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament.
# Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard was the second-best player, while France forward Antoine Griezmann was third.
# Belgium's Thibaut Courtois was awarded the Golden Glove for being the leading goalkeeper.
Croatia rolled out a red carpet and staged a euphoric heroes' welcome for the national footballers despite losing the final.
Wearing national red-and-white checked colours, people waved Croatian flags and poured into the streets in the capital Zagreb to greet the team.
The joyful, singing crowd crammed the central squares and the route where the players passed in an open bus, greeting fans and signing autographs.
The players lined up to sing the national anthem with the packed square thundering in joy. The country of four million people was gripped in euphoria since its team beat England to reach the World Cup final.
The success has been described as the biggest in Croatia's sporting history, boosting national pride and sense of unity in the country that fought a war to become independent from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The crowd that waited for hours to greet the football team, under a hot sun and amid celebratory smoke bombs that choked the air, got its moment hours after the team returned from Russia.
The 64-match greatest show on earth witnessed unprecedented results of underdog's sides in the group stage and in the knockout stage matches before the final show, starting its journey at the same venue on June 14.
The 22nd edition of the quadrennial international football event will be held in Qatar in November- December 2022.
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