Remember the summer of 2018?
Football was coming home. The sun was out. Everywhere you looked people were dizzy on Strongbow Dark Fruit.
We know you don’t particularly want to revisit the heartbreak, but French channel TF1‘s documentary ‘Les Bleus 2018, Au Coeur de l’Épopée Russe‘ is worth the pain.
The film, which translates as ‘Les Bleus, the Heart of a Russian Epic‘, follows France’s entire World Cup campaign, offering an incredible insight into what it takes to win the tournament.
It’s not scheduled to land on Amazon until October, but we know a man that knows a man who has a basic understanding of YouTube and sorted a viewing for us.
Here’s what we learned.
Laurent Koscielny was there in spirit
When not desperately sprinting about trying to make up for Shkodran Mustafi’s mistakes, Arsenal defender Koscielny is a France international with 51 caps to his name.
An Achilles tendon injury suffered in the Europa League semi-final ruled him out of the World Cup, but France coach Didier Deschamps made sure he was there in spirit.
Deschamps handed a letter written by Koscielny to every member of France’s World Cup squad when they first met up. Genuinely inspirational stuff.
Kylian Mbappe has jokes
Mbappe is a bit of a comedian.
After France’s pre-tournament friendly against Republic of Ireland, a 2-0 win in torrential rain, the ex-Monaco forward had some chosen words for former team-mate Djibril Sidibe.
Note to self: always pass to Mbappe.
But he’s also very, very young
Mbappe was the second-youngest player heading into the tournament.
But age is just a number unless you put some context to it.
Paul Pogba did exactly that when he revealed the 19-year-old hadn’t seen France’s 1998 World Cup or Euro 2000 goals.
All France players had portraits of themselves on their doors
There’s an incredible scene at the start of the documentary when the players first meet up in which Steven N’Zonzi gets lost, such is his unfamiliarity with the international set-up.
France were therefore very keen to avoid any confusion with rooms when they got to Russia.
The solution? Paint a massive picture of each player on their bedroom door. That should do it.
Paul Pogba is a leader (PT.1)
France opened their World Cup campaign with a dismal 2-1 win against Australia, a game in which they were widely criticised both internally and externally.
Deschamps wasn’t happy, forcing the entire squad to sit down and watch the match while he meticulously pointed out their many errors.
Only one player spoke up to break the awkward silence when Deschamps asked what the problem was. That man was Pogba.
Footballers have an absolute feast after games
If there’s one area of being a professional footballer we’d excel at it’s the pizza eating.
After every game France’s players tucked into a pizza, although we can’t be 100% sure of the toppings.
Benjamin Mendy helped himself after the 1-0 win against Peru despite playing a grand total of zero minutes.
You earned it.
Paul Pogba is a leader (PT.2)
We hope Jose Mourinho watches this documentary.
Pogba’s speech before the Argentina game is a truly hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising moment.
Luckily for Javier Mascherano the words coming out of Pogba’s mouth were purely metaphorical.
Didier Deschamps called Benjamin Pavard’s Goal of the Tournament
Didier, would you mind picking our lottery numbers this week?
At half-time of the round of 16, with France drawing 1-1 against Argentina, Deschamps had a vision.
He saw Pavard launching a rocket into the top corner and spoke the moment into existence.
N’Golo Kante doesn’t talk
Throughout the entire documentary, which spans more than two hours, you don’t hear Kante speak once.
He’s undoubtedly one of the most popular members of the squad, but on camera you don’t hear a whisper.
How can you not love the man?
But he does cheat at ping pong
Reason to love Kante #279.
The smiling assassin doesn’t lose at ping pong, although he’s not against turning to the dark arts if needs be.
It’s always the ones you least expect.
Edinson Cavani went into the France dressing room after Uruguay’s quarter-final defeat
Cavani showed a touch of class after Uruguay’s loss in the quarter-final.
He went into France’s dressing room to congratulate Mbappe and his fellow PSG team-mates.
Top man. Nice to see that Luis Suarez’s kindness rubbed off on him in Russia.
Samuel Umtiti sprayed his way to success
Everyone in the French dressing room was understandably panicking at half-time of the semi-final against Belgium.
Not Umtiti though. He simply took a deep breath and sprayed himself with some aftershave, or ‘victory perfume’ as he referred to it.
What happened next? Big Sam went out and bagged the winner to send France into the final.
Paul Pogba is a leader (PT.3)
Did we mention that Pogba is the type of bloke you’d follow into battle?
Even if that battle was us and Pogba against 1,000 Marouane Fellainis.
To think some people question his desire.