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La Victoire!

France's "Blues" didn't hit a single melancholy note in defeating what was thought to be the world's premier soccer team. The French victory in the World Cup finals seemed an apt finale to a tournament marked by upsets and dark horses.

Brazil's vaunted offensive stars couldn't find a hole in France's defenses. This was a Maginot Line that worked. And the home team's own offense suddenly came alive, in the person of midfielder Zinedine Zidane, who headed in two first-half goals.

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"Zizou," as Mr. Zidane is known to fans, exemplifies more than awakened offense. His Algerian heritage underscores the melting pot quality of the French team - and of today's French society generally. The team also included Frenchmen with roots in the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and the South Pacific.

At a time when French politics - like politics in many parts of the world - have taken on a nationalistic coloration with streaks of xenophobia, a national celebration that brings everyone, from all backgrounds, together is welcome.

So we'll join in France's exultation. We'll sympathize with Brazil (whose talented players will undoubtedly be back). And we'll cheer for a game that lets millions of people all over the world forget everything else for a brief time and unite in an appreciation of athletic skill.

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