Twenty years later, the “Bleus” are embroidering a second star on their hearts. If we remember the France of 1998 and look at today’s France, there is no doubt about it; yesterday’s football is worth today’s football and the triumph is in integration.
Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane and a selection of wrestlers – Thuram, Desailly, Lebouef, Karembeu, Vieira and Petit – made history in 1998. The myth of a “black, blanc, beur” team was adopted, France explicitly recognising itself as a multiracial community and the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, said it was the triumph of a “tricolour and multicolour” France.
That victory had done more for integration than decades of politics.
Deschamps combines sports pedagogy with an integration formula. Most of the players in the French national team are the children of immigration, including 60% of African origin. Today, the talent of Griezmann or Mbappé would have been in vain without the muscle of the Pogba, Kanté or Matuidi.
The same goes for Belgium, another of the best teams in this World Cup: 11 of its 23 players are the children of immigrants. Those young people who have successfully defended their national teams are only trying to live in the land their parents chose and are no different from all the others who, like them, migrated from their countries in search of a better future. They contribute to the society in which they live with their effort and talent.
The reception and integration of migrants has been shown to generate social well-being; among the characteristics that define an inclusive nation are: the fight against discrimination, diversity in schools and neighbourhoods, the connection between people of different cultures, the rejection of stereotypes and hatred.
European societies need immigrants and their children as much as football teams need them.
They need their savoir-faire, their passion, their desire to succeed. They need them as workers, as entrepreneurs, as taxpayers. They need their youth and their energy, in an ageing Europe.
The triumph is in cultural diversity and integration. With more than 30 nationalities represented in Moneytrans we have it pretty clear!