Europe 1 with AFP 10:17 p.m., December 19, 2022

Unfortunate heroes of the 2022 World Cup final, the players of the France team were cheered by thousands of supporters on Monday evening at Place de la Concorde in Paris on their return from Qatar, in an atmosphere of fervor, while Argentina was stamping with impatience before celebrating the new world champions.

Heroes in defeat.

Having arrived an hour and a half earlier at Paris airport, the French team appeared on the balcony of the Hôtel Crillon to the cheers of the fans, mostly very young people, who were waving tricolor flags while chanting " Thank you Blues!"

and singing the Marseillaise or the Gala song "Freed from desire", which became the anthem of the Blues during the World Cup.

Some had perched on lampposts or traffic lights, to try to see the Blues if only by a hair.

The children, the luckiest, had found a perfect place on the shoulders of their parents.

"I had to be there, to thank our Blues for everything they have done so far," said Sandrine Djellas, 53, made up in red and blue.


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Argentinians expected in the middle of the night

As they got off the plane, the coach of the Blues Didier Deschamps had sketched a smile, just like Olivier Giroud, who wore a necklace of blue, white and red flowers around his neck.

But Kylian Mbappé, his face closed, had rushed into one of the buses parked on the tarmac before reaching the famous Parisian square.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Argentinians will have to wait for the arrival of Lionel Messi and his teammates until the middle of the night, local time, but, drunk with happiness, they have already descended by the millions into the streets to celebrate this third World Cup, the last coronation dating back to 1986, at the time of Diego Maradona.

The Argentinians should arrive around 2:25 a.m. local time (6:25 a.m. Paris time) at Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires, where a small reception was planned, according to an airport source.

It was not known if the reunion with the fans would take place the same evening with the more than one million Porteños who, until late at night, celebrated the title on Sunday.


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Messi the equal of Maradona

The day after Argentina's coronation, the international press celebrated with one voice the "amazing" genius of Messi and his very "Maradonian" performance until the end of an "anthology" match.

Without forgetting to console the other star of this "epic" final: the "phenomenon" Mbappé.

Coming very close to joining Pelé, as double world champion under 24, the young striker must be content with his individual exploits: a historic hat-trick in a final, the title of top scorer in the World Cup (8 goals), the 6th place in the ranking of the best scorers in the history of the World Cups, tied with Pelé (12 goals).

"We will come back," promised Kylian Mbappé on his Twitter account on Monday, his first words since the disillusionment of the day before.

As for Messi, 35, with this first world title - like Maradona in 1986 - he will still be a little more adored in Argentina.

"Like Diego Maradona in his time, the stadium idol lived up to his reputation on Sunday, more than ever the pride of an entire people", greeted the French daily Le Figaro on Monday, in praise of the "amazing Messi".

Mbappé's teammate at Paris SG also confided that he intended to "live a few more matches by being world champion".