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What the papers said 12 July 2018

rfi English, Jul 12

Feel good spirit sweeps through France ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final against Croatia, and did Macron expect France win?

The football World Cup is splashed on every front page as the commentators continue to celebrate France qualification for Sunday’s final, 20 years after the 1998 triumph in Paris.

It will be against Croatia, who broke English hearts by coming from behind to win the thriller in Moscow with an extra time goal.

L'Equipe notes with reserved confidence that 20 years after being beaten by France in the semi-finals of the World Cup, Croatia, drunk with happiness after breaking British hearts, is poised for revenge. The sports daily is wary of the Croatian ghost returning unexpectedly to haunt France at the hour of glory.

Ahead of the final showdown in Moscow, Le Parisien, urges Didier Deschamps and his squad to make no mistake with the Croatians who in its mind are capable of shattering their World Cup dreams.

Libération argues that the millions of fans who took to the Champs Elysées and the streets of France's cities Tuesday night waving flags and singing La Marseillaise, only care that the team completes the job that has reunited the country at least throughout this World Cup.

Le Figaro for its part argues that while it is fully aware that the magic of victory doesn't last, the lucky charm of France's performance at the World Cup remains a feel good moment of collective pride no matter the origin of the French people.

L'Humanité expresses confidence in the capacity of Les Bleus to win the World Cup and to live with defeat whatever happens, which in its view are both part of great adventures.

Les Echos comments with a note of sarcasm about the fragile balance between President Emmanuel Macron, and the score line.

According to the economic newspaper, Macron got very close to disaster with his anti-poverty plan, after one of the President’s aides, hinted about a rather clumsy plan to present the reform to the French people only if France qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Les Echos says it's sad to imagine that the Macron government is playing games with a matter as serious as the fight against poverty.

The paper says there's one interpretation people could make of the President's mind set, that Emmanuel Macron did not trust the ability of the national team to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup. That, said Les Echos, speaks volumes about his sense of judgment.


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