Didier Deschamps and his side have returned to a heroes’ welcome in Paris after surprisingly missing out on the World Cup.
Twice trailing – initially by two goals to nil and then with only minutes remaining in extra-time – France took the game to penalties before finally being undone by some Emiliano Martinez brilliance and poor execution.
Despite the loss, thousands gathered at the capital’s Place de la Concorde to give the players a welcome worthy of them winning the prize as the squad was offered countless well wishes.
Kylian Mbappe looked particularly glum as he and his France team-mates returned home
The captain and the head coach led the players off the plane as they arrived home in Paris
Deschamps and his players were pictured getting off the plane and onto the tarmac before they headed onto the function on Monday evening. Their families were also photographed emerging from the aircraft.
The France head coach, who was bidding to become the first manager ever in World Cup history to win back-to-back trophies, was photographed grinding as he arrived home.
Some of his players, including Kylian Mbappe, however, looked less impressed as they arrived back in a significantly colder than Qatar France.
Hugo Lloris and Didier Deschamps both put on brave faces despite having agonisingly missed out on their own respective bits of history
The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored a hat-trick – and his penalty in the shootout – though it was not enough to save his side
Mbappe, who became the first player since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a World Cup final hat-trick and has vowed that France ‘will return’, had a look of anguish etched across his face as he looked deep into his own thoughts. His efforts, as miraculous as they had been, were not enough to haul his side over the line.
There was little sign of Kolo Muani, who missed a gilt-edged chance in the dying embers of extra-time to surely win the World Cup.
Olivier Giroud, who alongside Ousmane Dembele was hauled off unceremoniously before half-time after Deschamps seemingly admitted defeat in his initial team selection, donned a Hawaiian-like neck adornment as he headed for the waiting team coach.
The AC Milan forward grinned as he shook hands with one of the airport’s staff members on the tarmac.
The France players stepped off the plane to a heroes’ welcome at Charles de Gaulle airport
Olivier Giroud appeared slightly happier than his forward partner Mbappe as he greeted one of the airport’s staff members
The AC Milan forward even donned a Hawaiian-style neck adornment as he stepped onto the runway
Mbappe gave a slight grimace as he Ousmane Dembele and Hugo Lloris stepped onto the team bus
France players’ family members also stepped off the plane in front of the waiting French press
Mbappe was sat on the team bus as the players headed to a reception at Paris’ Place de la Concorde
Hugo Lloris, who failed to save a single Argentina penalty in the shootout, led the team towards their waiting transport to take them on alongside Deschamps.
Airport staff lined the runway as the players emerged down the steps of the plane. Despite many of the squad having been involved four years ago for their triumph in Russia, there appeared a significant number of glum faces as the reality of their defeat appeared to strike home.
Their arrival home coincides with criticism of France president Emmanuel Macron for his rather persistent approach to consoling the players after Sunday evening’s final.
Argentina’s players, meanwhile, remained in the air with the team expected to return to Buenos Aires at around 2am GMT.
Emmanuel Macron was criticized by some French political bundits for his words in the dressing room after the game
The French press was particularly critical of the centrist politicians for the way he tried to console Mbappe while he was sprawled on the turf of the Lusail Stadium.
As reported by The Times, a political pundit named Matthieu Croissandeau accused the president of ‘going over the top’ in his attempts to be involved and of ‘hubris’.
‘You could say that Emmanuel Macron listened to his heart and that he is a real football fan, which is true. But it is difficult not to see a form of immoderation, what the Greeks called hubris or a type of all-powerfulness. In the Middle Ages, they called it the royal touch,’ he said.
Macron gave a speech to the players in the dressing room after the defeat, something BFM’s anchor Adeline François said was awkward owing to the players simply just wanting ‘him to go away’.
Meanwhile, with Deschamps’ future up in the air with his contract set to expire, it was reported by L’Equipe that he wishes to negotiate a contract to remain in charge for the next World Cup should he stay.
Others said that his consoling of the players – particularly Mbappe – was slightly cringeworthy