France's World Cup Win A Victory For Africa As Well 🇫🇷over 2 years in Huffpost
Vive Les Bleus!
France were crowned 2018 World Cup champions on Sunday, after they beat Croatia in an enthralling 4-2 encounter in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium, winning their second world title.
Their manager, Didier Deschamps, became only the third man in history to win the World Cup both as a player (1998) and as a manager, as he led his young but talented side to glory.
France's victory, however, can also be acknowledged as a victory for the African continent — more than half the squad have African connections.
According to The South African, 14 of France's 23-man squad are of African descent and could have chosen to play for the African continent, but choose to represent the European giants instead.
Here's a look at them:
1. Kylian Mbappe 🇨🇲 🇩🇿
The teenage sensation and winner of the 2018 World Cup Young Player of the Tournament was born in France to a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother.
2. Paul Pogba 🇬🇳
Paul Pogba, who scored a goal in the final to silence his critics, was born in France to two Guinean parents.
3. Samuel Umtiti 🇨🇲
Rock-solid French defender Samuel Umtiti, who was arguably one of the best defenders in the whole tournament alongside his teammate Raphael Varane, was born in Cameroon. He was so highly rated that Cameroon World Cup legend Roger Milla even tried to get him to play for Cameroon.
4. Presnel Kimpembe 🇬🇳
Young French defender Kimpembe was born in France — however, his father is Congolese.
5. Ousmane Dembélé 🇲🇱
Dembele was born in France. His mother is French, of Mauritanian and Senegalese descent, while his father is from Mali.
6. Corentin Tolisso 🇹🇬
Born in France, Tolisso has connections to Togo through his parents.
In 2016, Togo manager Claude Le Roy tried to get him to play for the African side, but Tolisso declined.
7. N'Golo Kanté 🇲🇱
An evergreen midfield colossus despite his small size, Kante put in a stellar performance for Les Bleus in Russia.
Born in France, both his parents are from Mali. He was approached by the Mali national team in 2015 ahead of the African Cup Of Nations, but declined to represent them and chose France instead.
8. Blaise Matuidi 🇦🇴 🇨🇬
Matuidi — perhaps coach Didier Deschamps favourite player — was consistent even though playing in an unorthodox wing position.
He was born in France to an Angolan father and Congolese mother.
9. Steven Nzonzi 🇨🇬
Nzonzi, used mostly as a substitute throughout the tournament to bring calm and balance, was born in France to Congolese parents. He declined to plasy for Congo twice, even though his father did.
10. Steve Mandanda 🇨🇩
Reserve goalkeeper Mandanda was born in the DRC and moved to France when he was a teenager.
11. Adil Rami 🇲🇦
Rami, who was a fringe player during the tournament, was born on the French island of Corsica to Moroccan parents.
12. Nabil Fekir 🇩🇿
Born in France to Algerian Parents. In March of 2015 he was named Algeria's squad for friendlies against Oman and Qatar. However, he withdrew to take part in the French squad.
13. Djibril Sidibé 🇲🇱
Born in France, Sidibe has has links to Mali.
14. Benjamin Mendy 🇸🇳
Born in France to Senegalese parents. He decided to represent France and made his senior debut in March 2017.