The events of the next twenty five years transformed the face of Europe, as first the terror and then Napoleon shaped the way modern Europe looked. The revolution was powered and some of the worst atrocities committed by what were known as the "Sans Culottes" (without trousers) .
If France are to win today, and achieve what Napoleon failed to do, come home with a victory from Russia (He did capture Moscow but it was a Pyrrhic victory.) It would be fair to say that they have been led there by the modern version of the Sans Culottes, who were the mainstay of the Grande Armee in the early stages of the revolution, consisting of such players as Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and N'golo Kante. These players all hail from the poor suburbs of Paris, the urban ghettos which are not the most pleasant of places to grow up in. Yet here they are, one game away from being crowned world champions and what stands in their away is the ancestors of the old Hapsburg empire.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, as they say. (the more things change the more they stay the same)
Croatia, who as you may remember, I said would be the dark horses of the tournament have got to the final the hard way. All three of the their knock out games have gone to extra time. I would say this shows a remarkable resilience and fortitude, a never say die attitude which they will need against a vibrant and robust French side. This Croatian side will not wave a white flag, something of course which we all know the French are very good at doing.
I suppose I want Croatia to win, but to be honest if the French do win then it will have been deserved as hard as that is to admit.
Two to watch
|Lloris, best keeper in the tournament by far|
|Lovren, will be kept busy today|
A word about EnGerLand which I know you have been waiting for. They finished fourth as they did in 1990, a performance better than anyone expected before the tournament started. Obviously once the games were underway and the draw opened up for EnGerLand, the hype rose to a deafening crescendo with all that "it's coming home" stuff. In the end however as a neighbour of mine put it to me yesterday, the world returned to its natural order.
There have been no recriminations this time round, no looking for a scapegoat, this is a young team with a young manager who hopefully can build from this. There is one other fact which offers real hope. I would imagine that not many of you know that EnGerLand are currently world champions at the U17 and U20 levels.
I can already hear the scoffers going, so what, most of those players will not make it anyway, as the youngsters will not improve as they will not play enough minutes at the highest levels. In the past, this may have been true but a steady stream of young English talent have already been snapped up by top clubs in Europe, a double bonus as one they are guaranteed playing time and two they are widening their football horizons.
The real import of being double champions is the change in perception. These players are growing up with a winning mentality, no longer the scars of past teams failures. The current EnGerLand team were just not good enough, but they did not exhibit the usual fear we have come to expect.
The next generation expect to win, it is normal for them and you can not stress enough how important the mental side of the game is.
So as we say goodbye until the Euros in 2020, I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I will leave you with the highlights of last Year's Under 17 world cup final between Spain and EnGerLand. It is a six minute clip, concentrating on one of the bright lights, Manchester City's Phil Foden. Enjoy and maybe next time it will be closer to coming home
Hard to believe this is an EnGerLand team playing the Spanish