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Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, right, looks on as French President Emmanuel Macron kisses France’s Kylian Mbappe after France won the World Cup, Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

Is France’s World Cup Team ‘African’? It Depends Who’s Asking

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

PARIS—If, as the old saw has it, the United States and the United Kingdom are two countries separated by a common language, the United States and France are surely two countries separated by common ideals. But good intentions on both sides of the Atlantic often get lost in translation, with the latest example being the high-profile dispute between late-night comedy show host Trevor Noah and France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, over the identity of the World Cup champion French national soccer team. (Noah is South African, but his show is produced in the U.S. for an American audience.)

Like the U.S., France’s republic is based on the separation of church and state, with freedom of religion and speech guaranteed. Both countries, perhaps unique among modern nation-states, lay claim to a universalist mission of expanding human rights around the globe, though both have often fallen short of their lofty rhetoric. Both are also historically diverse countries that have successfully absorbed successive waves of immigration into their national fabric. ...

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