France, the world’s champion and Croatia, a heroic example for the world

France has done it again and won its second World Cup title. They lifted the international golden cup, the epitome of football glory and popular sports across the world.

After France triumphed, the French people sang La Marseillaise, the French national anthem of pride, under the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Triumphal Arch of the Star) at Champs-Élysées and towards the Eiffel Tower.

The sons of Coach Deschamps did it, and Deschamps took France to victory like he did before under Jacquet in 1998 when football legend Zinedine Zidane was part of the team. After this victory, Deschamps is adding another star to a record of national French accomplishments.

There are many lessons to ponder upon from this 2018 Russian World Cup, such as the great organization and the struggle of the diligent teams that did not make it to this year’s tournament. There is also a special lesson for our Arab teams

Mashari Althaydi

Yes, football is not just a 90-minutes match with nothing more to it. It is a combination of political, cultural, economic and social aspects. Perhaps this was reflected in the French president’s jumps for joy along with his wife to the sound of victory in Moscow after the strict Argentinian referee announced the end of the match and France won 4-2 against the respectable team of Croatia.

Lessons to be learned

Croatia was a heroic part of this journey in terms of their performance, professionalism and sportsmanship. This is in addition to the team’s sense of national responsibility towards the people of Zagreb and other Croatian cities and towns. Perhaps the attendance of Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović reflects the national Croatian spirit thanks to the team of Coach Zlatko Dalić. This patriotism is deeply-rooted in the Croatian people whose population is small in the Balkans which has ethnic and religious crises.

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There are many lessons to ponder upon from this 2018 Russian World Cup, such as the great organization and the struggle of the diligent teams that did not make it to this year’s tournament. There is also a special lesson for our Arab teams and other African and Asian teams, where we must salute Japan, South Korea and Senegal.

But what attracted attention over this French victory is also what attracted attention in 1998’s French team, in which Zidane was playing, and that is the diverse roots of the team’s players. In the current team we find players who brought victory to France whose origins are from Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana and Morocco. I will not discuss those who are originally from other European countries as this is nothing strange that is worth mentioning, but other origins are.

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The phenomenon Kylian Mbappé who was named best young player is a unique example. The 19-year-old who is more like an ultra-fast train, is a French citizen from French parents but his mother Fayza is originally from Algeria and his father Wilfried is originally from Cameroon.

This applies to other teams like Belgium and England. So will this reality reflect on the European controversy regarding immigration and its benefits, or will it be a quick sparkle that dies out with time in the sea of political and security strife?

Nevertheless, the World Cup has been a magnificent lesson in all aspects.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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