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World Cup triumph will give France
players lifelong bond: Deschamps   

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- France coach Didier Deschamps said his players will share a lifelong bond after their World Cup triumph here on Sunday.

Les Bleus won football’s premier international trophy for a second time by beating Croatia 4-2 in front of 78,000 fans at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

“These players will be together forever because of this,” said Deschamps, who became the third person to win the World Cup as both a player and manager, joining Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.

“It’s not going to change them but they will also know that that there is nothing above winning a World Cup. It’s the pinnacle in football.”

Deschamps said Russia 2018 was unique because smaller teams were more willing than ever before to push themselves to their physical limits.

“I have never seen a World Cup like this,” said the 49-year-old, who was captain of the France team that beat Brazil in the 1998 final.

“I don’t think it was an esthetically beautiful World Cup. It was tough and you only have to look at the data to see that some of he smaller teams run more and had better statistics than some other teams that were better on paper.

“As the tournament goes on you need to get stronger and we managed to do that. There was uncertainty regarding our young players but they showed what they are capable of and I’m sure that in three or four years they will be even stronger.”



Brazil legend Pele congratulates Kylian Mbappe

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Brazil legend Pele paid tribute to teenage forward Kylian Mbappe after his goal in France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday.

The 19-year-old’s low 25-yard strike made him only the second teenager after Pele to score in the decider of football’s showpiece competition. Pele achieved the feat as a 17-year-old in 1958.

“Welcome to the club, @KMbappe - it’s great to have some company!” Pele said on Twitter.

Mbappe scored four goals at Russia 2018 and won the World Cup’s best young player award.


Griezmann: ‘Our children will be proud’

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- France forward Antoine Griezmann hailed his “extraordinary” teammates after Les Blues won the World Cup for a second time on Sunday.

Griezmann was named man of the match, scoring from the penalty spot and setting up Paul Pogba for France’s fourth goal in their 4-2 victory over Croatia.

He also delivered the 18th-minute free-kick that flew into the back of the net after a deflection off Mario Mandzukic’s head.

“For me the collective is the most important thing. If you have a strong and united team, you can do anything,” the Atletico Madrid forward said after the match.

“I have extraordinary teammates and now we’re going to be a part of history. Maybe it won’t hit home immediately but in the future our children are going to be proud of what we have done. Now we have to enjoy it.”

Griezmann, who scored four goals during the World Cup, has been touted as a possible winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or, awarded to the world’s best player.

The 27-year-old said his immediate priority is to celebrate the World Cup triumph with his teammates, friends and family.

“We still have the European Super Cup [in August] to play and I hope that we can win it,” Griezmann said. “But right now I want to enjoy this. I can focus on that later.”

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