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France return from Moscow as champions

Fans from all over the world have a lot to savour after a month-long showcase of football at its best
Gulf News

Well, wasn’t that a World Cup to remember — and for all of the right reasons too. Yes, France are world champions again after defeating Croatia in Sunday’s final in Moscow, and full credit must go to the team’s coach, Didier Deschamps who joins a very select group who have both won the trophy as a player and then repeated the feat as a manager.

And yes, there is now a new generation of football stars that have become household names, with 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.

Football aside, this too was a remarkable World Cup in that it showed that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) now has a place in the top levels of the game, and its introduction and use across the elite leagues must now follow as a matter of necessity. No more are referees the sole arbiter of what happens on the field of play in games where the pace is faster than ever before and the stakes themselves higher too.

Off the field too, every credit must go to the Russian authorities. Much had been written before this month-long celebration of football about the potential for hooliganism. Gladly, this was an event free of this blight of the modern game, and police and security officials responsible for policing at every venue this past month, deserve kudos. Indeed, fans too enjoyed mingling and mixing and watching mostly entertaining games. Today, as the dust settles, we all have a greater appreciation of the best that the game of football has to offer.

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