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What the weeklies said 22 July 2018

rfi English, Jul 22

Football-mad France continues to celebrate the football World Cup triumph of "Les Bleus", but the "African origin" of several French superstars generates controversy and nauseous rhetoric in populist circles.

"France on top of the world"; "all blue nation", lessons of life from Frenchman called Didier Deschamps and teenage sensation Kilian Mbappe and President Macron reaches for the skies. 

Such are the headlines of this week’s magazines as the people continue to enjoy a simple moment of happiness following France’s crowning as world champions at the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia last Sunday.

L’Express pays a glowing tribute to manager Didier Deschamps. The publication paints a colourful portrait of the so-called 2-star general who captained the French team that won the coveted trophy 20 years ago.

L’Express describes him as a leader who cares about his image but gives his all to ensure that his character leaves an impact on his entourage on and off the football pitch. Bernard Tapie, President of French giants Marseille when they won the Champions League in 1993, lionises Deschamps for re-stitching the clothe torn into shreds by the Knysna strikers.

According to l’Express, even if this is just about football, becoming World Champions has generated a feeling of happiness and pride in the French people; which goes beyond football, to a point where through the love they now have for their national team, they have fallen in love with themselves in a manner never experienced before.

But as Le Point explains, this World Cup was becoming an internal nightmare to leaders of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, considering the "unbelievable zeal with which l tore down the French squad largely composed of young players of African origin".

The weekly says Madame Le Pen’s 11 million voters probably went through "terribly pain watching the rest of the French people celebrate the exploits of the likes of Ngolo Kante of Malian origin, Blaise Matuidi with Congolese ancestors, Paul Pogba with Guinean roots, with Samuel Umtiti and Kilian Mbappe of Cameroonian origin.

According to right-wing magazine, by all accounts France's winning of the 2018 World Cup was a "triumph over their nauseous anti-migrant rhetoric".

Le Point also pours scorn on "some rubbish", it claims is being circulated, without any scientific evidence, by the likes of Economy Minister, Bruno Lemaire, that the World Cup victory was a boon for economic growth.

The publication states, for the record, that when Spain realized its magical triple by winning the Europe in 2008, the World Cup in 2010 and the euro again in 2012, Spain was going through the worst crisis in its history with jobless figures plunging from 9 to 25 percent in 4 years.


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