France manager Didier Deschamps was left soaked in beer, champagne and sweat after celebrating World Cup glory with his delirious squad – a moment he will cherish alongside the crowning achievement of his playing career.
A 4-2 win over Croatia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium earned Deschamps access to one of football’s most elite clubs, those who have lifted the World Cup as both competitor and coach. Only Franz Beckenbauer of Germany and Brazil’s Mario Zagallo have managed the same feat.
Deschamps was mobbed by a conga line of players chanting his name and dousing him with whatever drink came to hand.
“They are a little crazy, they have always been a little mad,” he said. “They are young and they are happy.
“I don’t really like to talk about myself but I am forced to a little bit. I had the immense pleasure and privilege to live through this as a player 20 years ago. It is marked in my memory forever. But what the players did today is just as beautiful and just as strong.
“At the moment my players don’t really know what it is to be world champions but I told them two things. That these 23 players are linked forever: they may follow different paths but they are marked together by this event. And that they are going to be different now. They are not the same, they are world champions.”
France were arguably outplayed in the first half despite heading up the tunnel 2-1 up after a Mario Mandzukic own goal and a debatable penalty from Antoine Griezmann either side of Ivan Perisic’s goal for Croatia.
They ensured they left as worthy winners, though, adding fine strikes from Paul Pogba and young player of the tournament Kylian Mbappe against a goalkeeping aberration from Hugo Lloris.