The French National Men’s Football team completed a month-long journey to the top of the football world, Sunday evening, Manila time after they defeated Croatia, 4-2 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.
It was only France’s second time to hoist the World Cup trophy, twenty years after their first World Cup championship.
And as many of you may already know, the Philippines was also represented in the World Cup, via Filipino-French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.
The 25-year old Areola was born to Filipino parents working in France and has been part of France’s youth teams since 2008.
He was the hero for France in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final as he saved spot-kicks from Uruguay’s Emiliano Velázquez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta in a penalty shootout to lead his nation to its first ever title in the tournament.
Areola, who plays for club team Paris Saint-Germain, received his first senior call up back in 2015.
In 2011, Areola was invited to play for the Azkals, who he praised in a 2012 interview with ABS-CBN News.
“I’m happy and proud of the Azkals because they have made rapid progression,” a then 19 year old Areola told Edward Lao.. “I used to tell my mother it was my dream to have a football team for the Philippines, and now it’s happening.”
The Azkals, of course, have reached unparalleled levels of success since then, most recently qualifying for the 2018 AFC Asian Cup.
Congratulations to Alphonse and the rest of Les Bleus!
(abs-cbn sports news)