France Stands Tall As World Champions, Role Models

Josh Fernandes

Josh Fernandes, Author

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It didn’t get any bigger than this: confetti rained down, fireworks soared above Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and a roar of emotion took the crowd over as the French men’s national soccer team emerged victorious in the World Cup that defied expectation at every turn. This edition of the most important tournament in the world proved to be the best we had ever seen.

It had storylines like no other: Two of the greatest players of all time in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played for possibly the last time on the world stage in their attempts to bring back glory for their countries. The favorites and defending world champions, Germany, did not even advance past the group stage. The underdog Croatian team battled their way through the knockout stage in three extra time thrillers. But at the end, despite all the craziness, no one was surprised by the winner. France, a team who gritted their way to every win, that dug deep and found ways to win, a diverse team in a country that struggles with racism, stood above the rest of the world at the final whistle of the tournament.

France, the team with generational talents riddled with deep African roots, failed to put it together at the 2016 European Championship. They would not let the same heartbreak happen to them again. Even though at first it seemed like they would, they finally showed a flash of brilliance, and in six minutes put two strikes on the board which broke the hearts of a Croatian team that had played an entire 90 minutes more than the French.

All this happened on the biggest stage in the world. And yet, the United States turned a cold eye. The national team had failed to qualify, and so frankly, no one cared. Ratings were down from the 2014 World Cup that the U.S. participated in. Just listen to Hall senior goalkeeper Colin Horan, who said, “The World Cup was incredible to watch but I wasn’t invested that much because we [the U.S. national team] weren’t in it. A lot of my friends weren’t even aware it was going on”. Honestly, it is pathetic that the U.S. paid no attention to the world’s biggest sporting event. In a country that has people at each other’s throats, why don’t we we take a second and look to the incredibly diverse French national team and see how their sports team brought a divided country together for an amazing month of spectacular teamwork?

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France Stands Tall As World Champions, Role Models