Deschamps: 'calmness, confidence, concentration' are France's principles in final

Annette Crawford
July 15, 2018

French fans dared to dream of a World Cup victory on Sunday as they prepared to watch the final on a sunny summer weekend after a tournament that has lifted spirits and led to a rare sense of national unity.

One person desperate for victory will be President Emmanuel Macron, a keen football supporter who will be at the stadium in Moscow with his wife Brigitte.

Despite the excitement, security will be in the back of fans' minds after the series of deadly terror attacks since 2015, often by individuals attacking crowds enjoying a night out.

Some spectators were set to spend more than 10 hours in the sun waiting for the match. With temperatures in Paris rising to 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit), emergency services were on standby for anyone passing out.

"The atmosphere is electric".

At the huge gated fan zone near the Eiffel Tower, police will be carrying out pat-downs and searches, part of expanded powers granted by a tough anti-terror law passed previous year. There was never much that was glamorous about Deschamps' playing style - Eric Cantona famously described him as a "water carrier" - but his was a glorious career.

Former Brazil star Kaka has hailed Kylian Mbappe for his maturity and says fans of the global game are "blessed" to see the France teenager at the World Cup. They have managed to qualify after extra time three times in a row.

"We'll approach it differently and hope that we play really well and win it".

Sports newspaper L'Equipe had a similar message.

Deschamps' side beat Belgium to reach the final - 20 years after their manager captained the country to their maiden World Cup triumph on home soil. "Now in the Final is the dreaded Croatia".

On the Champs Elysees, horns were blaring, tricolor flags waving and a group of fans jumped up and down on a red, white and blue auto, blaring pro-France songs from a speaker. It will be a World Cup final, a great match, difficult, ' the midfielder said.

"Yeah! We believe in a win".

Well-converted by Antoine Griezmann, France's brief period under the cosh came to an end quicker than expected. "It's the final guys, let's do it!" screamed one man.

Along the Champs Elysees and at the Arc de Triomphe, French flags from the previous day's Bastille celebrations where still fluttering as some fans walked along the tree-lined avenue.

Winning the World Cup would reinforce the message pro-business Macron has delivered to worldwide investors since his election in May past year: that "France is back" as a dynamic, exciting place.

"I hope for a win, that is it. We're going to make a new '98!" said 15-year-old Martin said after the team's semi-final win this week.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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