France’s defeated World Cup soccer heroes return to acclaim in Paris

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France’s national soccer team returned from Qatar to the acclaim of huge crowds in Paris on Monday, after their heroic defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final, which won them admiration in the country and across the world.

A coach carrying stars such as Kylian Mbappe, whose thrilling hat-trick in Sunday’s final brought France back from the edge of defeat, journeyed from the Paris airport – where staff applauded them as they got off the plane – and into the heart of the capital where thousands gathered to greet them.

Despite it being a drab and chilly December evening, several thousands had congregated at Paris’ Place de la Concorde.

Fans let off fireworks, waved French tricolore flags and chanted ‘Allez Les Bleus’ and the French national anthem as the team appeared on the balcony of the prestigious Hotel de Crillon.

Coach Didier Deschamps and team captain Hugo Lloris waved to the crowds from the balcony. They were later joined by the rest of the squad and Mbappe, who drew a huge roar from the crowd.

Argentina won their third World Cup in an extraordinary final on Sunday as they beat France 4-2 on penalties, after Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-3 draw and Mbappe grabbed a hat-trick to bring the holders back from 2-0 and 3-2 down.