France’s heartbroken stars return home to a heroes’ welcome at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after coming agonisingly close to becoming the first country in 60 years to retain the World Cup
Didier Deschamps and his side have returned to a heroes welcome in Paris after agonisingly missing out on the World Cup.
Twice trailing – initially by two goals to nil and then with only minutes remaining in extra-time – France took the game to penalties before finally being undone by some Emiliano Martinez brilliance and poor execution.
Despite the loss, thousands gathered at the capital’s Place de la Concorde to give the players a welcome worthy of them winning the prize as the squad were offered countless well wishes.
Deschamps and his players were pictured getting off the plane and onto the tarmac before they headed onto the function on Monday evening.
The France head coach, who was bidding to become the first manager ever in World Cup history to win back-to-back trophies, was photographed grinning as he arrived home.
Some of his players, including Kylian Mbappe, however, looked less than impressed as they arrived back in a significantly colder than Qatar France.
Mbappe, who became the first player since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a World Cup final hat-trick, had a look of anguish etched across his face as he looked deep in his own thoughts. His efforts, as miraculous as they had been, were not enough to haul his side over the line.
Olivier Giroud, who alongside Ousmane Dembele was hauled off unceremoniously before half-time after Deschamps seemingly admitted defeat in his initial team selection, donned a Hawaiian-like neck adornment as he headed for the waiting team coach.
The AC Milan forward grinned as he shook hands with one of the airport’s staff members on the tarmac.
Hugo Lloris, who failed to save a single Argentina penalty in the shootout, led the team towards their waiting transport to take them on alongside Deschamps.
Airport staff lined the runway as the players emerged down the steps of the plane. Despite many of the squad having been involved four years ago for their triumph in Russia, there appeared a significant number of glum faces as the reality of their defeat appeared to strike home.