place de la Concorde, the crowd hails the Blues, its magnificent losers

A comfort. A delicious and gentle balm to put on the wounds of defeat. This is what a crowd is waiting for you with fervor. On Monday evening, December 19, when the French team returned from Doha after a six-hour flight, the Blues were able to gauge how much they remained loved by their supporters, despite this third star missing by a hair, during the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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On landing at Roissy, the captain of the plane with the players, their families and first lady Brigitte Macron had hung a French flag on the cockpit windscreen. But it was at the entrance to Paris, along every boulevard, and especially when the players’ coach arrived at the Place de la Concorde around 9 p.m., that we could see and hear the love of their audience.

Around 15,000 to 20,000 people gradually gathered in front of the Hôtel de Crillon, sometimes arriving as early as of the French team, bundled up against the damp cold and screaming their admiration. Some climbed the parapet of the obelisk and the metro stations singing Marseillaise. There are red smoke bombs, people are jumping and dancing. It’s like being in the stadium, as if those who haven’t made the trip to Qatar are finally enjoying the atmosphere of this unique competition.

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The day after the 2022 World Cup final lost to Argentina in Qatar, the French team greets its supporters from the Hôtel de Crillon at the Place de la Concorde in Paris on December 19, 2022.

” Thank you “

Are these grand losers? Are these champions that we love, despite the insults, because they made you vibrate?

On the balcony of the Crillon, after about twenty minutes, Blues coach Didier Deschamps and captain Hugo Lloris finally come out to say hello. Soon joined the whole team. At the foot of the luxury hotel’s magnificent facade, Christmas trees shine with a thousand lights. If it weren’t for Kylian Mbappé’s gloomy and closed face, there would be no sign of Sunday’s defeat against Argentina. The star of the French team – “He is our king, our president”, says a supporter, but – is also the first to leave the balcony, as if he, who has such a competitive spirit, had not yet digested to have seen this victory escape him.

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“Thank You Blues” but that’s what we hear coming from the crowd. Not a whistle. Not a complaint. What enthusiasm and cheer. So Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann, aware of this incredible fervor, are among the last to applaud this public that is at least as deserving as its champions.

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