European teams have been dominant at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia - with France capturing the trophy. UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin congratulates the winners, as well as the other European representatives who gave us a tournament to savour.
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A memorable FIFA World Cup in Russia has come to a close – and European football can look back with immense pride at an extremely successful tournament.
For the fourth time in a row, a team from Europe has captured world football’s blue-riband national team trophy. Following Italy in 2006, Spain in 2010 and Germany in 2014, it is now the turn of France to savour glory, having emerged victorious as world champions for the second time following their success on home soil in 1998.
European teams held sway during an unforgettable month in Russia. Ten of Europe's 14 representatives qualified for the knockout phase; six of the eight quarter-finalists, and then all four semi-finalists were from this continent. And, in the end, France prevailed over their excellent opponents Croatia in Sunday’s thrilling final in Moscow.
Coach Didier Deschamps – captain of the triumphant French team 20 years ago – moulded a side that provided a perfect blend of youth and experience, allied to outstanding organisation and individual brilliance. Les Bleus fully justified their billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the French Football Federation and its president Noël Le Graët on this wonderful achievement. Praise is also due to the Croatian Football Federation, led by its president Davor Šuker, for their team’s countless qualities that took them to the final.
Both teams, and the many millions of fans who followed them along the way, can be rightly proud of their contributions to a World Cup that will remain in our hearts. The same goes for the strong group of other European teams that kept their dreams alive until the tournament’s later stages.
Thanks to Russia for hosting a World Cup packed with remarkable matches, magnificent goals and superb individual displays. The country and its people met the challenge of welcoming one of the world’s major sporting events with great aplomb. Fans, visitors and guests will all return home from Russia with fond and lasting memories of their stay.
National team football is a crucial source of national pride and identity. This tournament has also united countries’ communities and demonstrated the social power of our game. The World Cup has shown just how significant national team football is in the sport’s overall landscape. And it will not be long before Europe’s national teams have another opportunity to show their capabilities with the new UEFA Nations League and UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers just around the corner. I hope that you join me in looking forward eagerly to the wealth of excitement and entertainment to come.