It is congratulations to France as its football team have won the FIFA World Cup final against Croatia 4-2 in Moscow, which included a goal from a new star on the world footballing stage, 19-year-old wonderkid Mbeppe, and a goal by striker Antroine Griezmann, and by midfielder Paul Pogba (the other goal was an own goal).
And while they did have a sticky start against Luca Modric’s Croatian team (Modric rightly won the best player of the tournament trophy), and although some questionable refereeing did help them a tad too much, it has to be said France were the best team throughout the tournament.
While England Captain Harry Kane and his team faded towards the end of the Championship (England eventually came fourth after losing 2-0 versus Belgium in the third place playoff game) – showing that their goal finishing in open play still needs to be perfected, they did bring England (and the rest of the UK) pride in their performance.
As it was, while his name was reportedly booed by the Franco-Russian-Croatian crowd as his award was given in absentia during the final ceremony, Harry Kane did pick up the Golden Boot for top goal scorer of the championship with six goals to his name (the only one of this writer’s pre-tournament tips to have worked out). The Three Lions on his shirt would have been proud of him and his fellow players. Gareth Southgate, the England Manager, managed to pick a squad of talented “nice guys” who the whole country could support. The same cannot be said of some previous England teams.
The other winners were, of course, the satellite and television companies who benefited from so much television coverage with Eutelsat and Intelsat making this plain before the championship started. Eutelsat broadcast 5,500 hours of HDTV (High Definition television) from 11 Russian cities during the competition. That content hours total figure is so high because it included off-pitch coverage and news reporting. Meanwhile, Intelsat is reported to have formed a partnership with Globo during the world cup to serve Latin American countries with 8K HDTV.
Of course, Russia was a winner itself, as it showed just how to provide a properly organised, friendly and secure games (albeit with an on-pitch anti-Putin protest in the final). And while he might not deserve international plaudits for his regime’s other actions, Russian President Vladimir Putin was at least pleased to receive them for the FIFA World Cup.