French star Kylain Mbappé donates World Cup earnings to children's charity

Arnold Nichols
July 18, 2018

Crowds of happy French fans gathered at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on Monday to await the return of their World Cup-winning team.

In an open-top bus, France were taken through Paris with the trophy held aloft, the public screaming their adulation at their heroes as they were driven down the Champs-Elysees amid clouds of flare smoke.

A 4-2 win over Croatia in Moscow on Sunday secured France their second World Cup triumph, sparking non-stop celebrations back home. They sang the French national anthem, set off firecrackers and sounded horns until the sun rose.

During celebrations on Sunday, two people died as millions took to the streets. Sunday's win was a much-needed victory for the French people and gives us a chance to celebrate sports, values of friendship and fraternity apart from reuniting the French.

"We're going to say thank you!" said Sacha, one of the young players already at the palace.

Numerous invited clubs are based in the poor neighbourhoods that produced the players who made up France's youthful, diverse World Cup team, including 19-year-old breakout star Kylian Mbappe.

"The 2018 victory will not have had the same impact on Emmanuel Macron's popularity that the 1998 had on Jacques Chirac's", Odoxa president Gael Sliman said in a note.

"This victory will improve France's image for several years, and nearly automatically that of its leader", Pascal Boniface, director of the Institute for global and Strategic Relations, a French think-tank, told AFP.

"History Made" declared sports daily L'Equipe.

The Didier Deschamps managed side secured an exhilarating 4-2 victory over Croatia, prompting an outpouring of joy across France. While there were celebrations in places like Chandannagar, the erstwhile French enclave in West Bengal, Chandigarh too saw French officials and students celebrating the Les Bleus title win.

France has suffered years of tension and self-examination since a series of attacks by Islamist gunmen during 2015 that left more than 140 dead, including 89 killed in the Bataclan theatre in Paris.

He also promised unions that his presidency was entering a "new phase" in which he would listen to them more closely after a year of whirlwind reform in which he largely ignored their protests.

The Paris public transportation system also got into the celebratory spirit. "They are too lovely, France is attractive!" said Julia Cohen, 28, after seeing players pass by on the Champs-Elysees, the gathering point for all national celebrations.

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