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The next senior World Cup is in France, not Qatar

19 Juillet 2018

The soccer tournament that has captured the attention and enthusiasm of the world for the past few weeks came to a close on Sunday, with France winning the title of the 2018 World Cup Champions. "Both teams were magnificent, I am sure everyone liked the way they played, and so did I", said Putin.

French media spent the day lauding the team's accomplishments. But by digging a little deeper, what else should we make note of as the world soccer stage sets its sights on 2020 and beyond? "All we want is a wave from the players".

Not far behind on 153 million were eventual World Cup winners France, and then you have to go some way back to find Argentina on 81 million.

"History Made" declared sports daily L'Equipe.

The front-line had the wing presence of Eden Hazard, who found three goals and two assists, while French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe nailed an assured spot courtesy of his historic World Cup victor, which brought his tally to four goals.

The Brazil v Belgium quarter-final was the second most-tweeted match, followed by Brazil's 2-0 win against Mexico on July 2. Tabarez and England's Roy Hodgson had a combined age of 134 years and two months when their teams clashed at Brazil 2014. Nacer Chadli's 94th-minute victor was one of the best team goals I ever saw in an all-time World Cup classic.

But some were keen to put that phrase to one side, seeing in it a sense of separateness, even if it was meant positively.

"It's true, we went on the pitch, and we said, We're going to crush them all!" he said.

When Macron and his wife Brigitte met the Russian leader at the Kremlin before the match, he congratulated him for his "perfect" organisation of the World Cup.

"Merci!" Mr Macron, the youngest person to become France's president, told the guests.

The France team set off from their Istra base in Russian Federation on Monday morning and were greeted by swathes of fans at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport upon landing - coach Didier Deschamps and bleary-eyed captain Hugo Lloris appearing first from the aircraft with the famous trophy.

On Monday morning, the after-effects of Sunday night's frenetic revelry were still visible.

An own goal from Croatia's Mario Mandzukic gave France the early lead. Mbappé, probably bursting with excitement at receiving a shoutout from the legendary footballer, responded, "The king will always remain king". Then a parade was carried out by the fans which ended at Elysee Palace where the team was greeted by the President himself.

The next senior World Cup is in France, not Qatar