Post-World Cup 2018 final press conference interrupted as France swim in joy
France players barged in to the room when coach Didier Deschamps addressed the media after the World Cup 2018 win, with midfielder Paul Pogba even dancing in front of world press.
Usually, post-match press conferences at this World Cup have happened within minutes of the final whistle. Usually, reporters hadn’t needed to protect their notebooks from being soaked by champagne. But then, wasn’t this a World Cup full of surprises?
As soon as they could --- and that was an hour after the final --- because the teams had to be back on the pitch for the presentations, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic addressed the media as did Man of the Match Antoine Griezmann.
But the wait for Didier Deschamps kept getting longer. Every once in a while and at every hint of movement, multiple eyes across the room would veer from laptop screens to the door connecting the dressing room and the Luzhniki Stadium’s press conference hall. Every minor movement of the door seemed to be teasing reporters as deadlines loomed.
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No sign of the only the third man to have won the World Cup as player and coach.
When Deschamps finally arrived, there were a few sighs of relief. The first thing he had to do was receive the Fifa badge for being a world champion from Croatia great Zvonimir Boban who is now the deputy secretary-general of Fifa.
Just as the first question was about to be lobbed, the main door moved again.
“Didier Deschamps…Didier Deschamps…Didier…Didier…Didier Deschamps,” Benjamin Mendy led a group of French players chanting into the room, with bottles of champagne, soft drinks, even water all of which rained on the France coach.
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Not a man of many words, Deschamps hid behind the players and embraced Griezmann. The players briefly left the room, then Paul Pogba led them back again. The coach was drenched again as Pogba climbed to the desk in front of Deschamps and danced with his teammates.
“It’s the third time I get changed and I still smell just as bad,” said Deschamps.
Some of the liquid thrown at Deschamps trickled towards the front rows where reporters sat. Alert to the situation, they managed to protect their laptops. And they managed to record it.
The joy among the players and the coach couldn’t have been more visible. Two years after the heartbreak of losing the European Championship final at home, France had finally delivered on the biggest of stages.
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Such invasion of press conferences are not unusual. Real Madrid players had barged into Zinedine Zidane’s post-match media interaction after the 2017 Champions League final. Ditto in 2010 after Spain won the World Cup.
What was different was the cohesion the French showed even when they were celebrating. Griezmann had earlier spoken about the bonding among the players, their synchronised singing seemed to reflect it.
“We are swimming in happiness,” Deschamps summed up.