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PART2: Key “behind-the- scenes” moments from France’s route to 2018 World Cup Victory

Odiase osayande



30th June | Pogba takes charge of the pre-match dressing speech ahead of the match vs. Argentina: “We are going to leave it all on the pitch. I do not want to go home. I want to eat more pasta at Istra.”

2nd July | The squad is getting bored of Istra & having nothing to do apart from train, mildly jealous of Belgium, Brazil and Colombian colleagues who are constantly
being given time away from their camps.

2nd July | As a result, Deschamps decides to give them a night off to let loose in Moscow because of the win over Argentina. About a dozen players go, ending up in a restaurant that turns into a nightclub. When they come back, a couple of players intend on continuing the party.

3rd July | Adil Rami, supposedly in a bid to shut them up, grabs a fire extinguisher & attacks team-mates with it, leading to a battle & the hotel alarm going off, forcing
everyone out of the building, staff included, in the middle of the night & the Russian fire brigade comes.

3rd July | Deschamps was furious, leading Rami to apologise in front of everyone with a joke at the end: “Well, at least I stopped in good time,” cracking the entiresquad up in the process.

6th July | Pogba steps up with a team talk of his own before the Uruguay game, dedicating it to Matuidi, who is suspended: “We have to win for Blaise, Argentina cannot be his last match at a World Cup.”

6th July | Edinson Cavani comes into the France dressing room after watching his country getting knocked out from the bench as he was injured to congratulate everyone – he tells individuals including Mbappé: “Now you have to go the entire way.”


6th July | Griezmann storms into the dressing room after beating Uruguay doing the Fortnite-inspired “L” celebration; Kimpembe & Umtiti mimic him before they all start chanting: “We’re in the semis.”

7th July | FFF President Le Graët gives a stirring speech at lunchtime the following day: “You have no idea the joy back home, flags everywhere. I think you are going to
make history, for yourselves, and for French football.”

10th July | In a meeting before the semi-final vs Belgium, Deschamps gives what might have been the team talk of
his life: “I know the one thing you’re all thinking, playing a World Cup final. Go & get it. Everything is possible, whatever happens in the match, give everything.”

10th July | Closer to kick-off, Matuidi steps up: “We are going to do this because of all the work we have put in, together. We can only do this if we are united.”


10th July | Pogba pre-match also says a few words: “All that work we did at Clairefontaine, today it pays off. We
have come too far guys, we are in the boat, we can’t go back. We can write history, we have the pen in our hands.”

10th July | The 1st half is tough, really tough – Belgium are undeniably better. At half-time, Deschamps tells Pogba he needs to support Pavard more in tagging
Hazard: “Show that you want it more than them.” Matuidi tells Mbappé to pass quickly, because they’re all pressing him.


10th July | At half-time vs Belgium, Umtiti turns to a cameraman in the dressing room who is making a documentary, and pulls out some perfume & sprays it all over himself: “This is the scent of victory.” – he would go on to score the match-winning goal.

10th July | Pogba comes up to Kanté in the dressing room at full-time: “He is not even tired! He could play again & again!” Varane joins them both & touches Kanté’s head:
“Look! He hasn’t even broken sweat!”

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