France are into the World Cup final after defeating Belgium in the semi-finals last night. Les Bleus won 1-0 thanks to a header from Samuel Umtiti and will now face England or Croatia in the final.
Amongst the celebrations, Crystal Palace fans certainly noticed one face above others. Steve Mandanda was one of the first to run onto the pitch and celebrate with his team-mates.
The 33-year-old could now find himself winning a World Cup winner’s medal, two years after joining Palace and flopping at Selhurst Park.
Mandanda arrived on a free transfer from Marseille in July 2016 as he wanted a change after nine years at the Stade Velodrome.
But his time at Palace was a disaster, despite his previous heroics in Ligue 1. Mandanda played just 10 times for Palace, keeping one clean sheet, before having to undergo a knee operation in November. His last appearance came in a 3-2 loss to Burnley in November 2016 and did not play again for the Eagles.
Instead, he returned to Marseille last summer in a protracted deal that left Mandanda disappointed.
“Leaving Crystal Palace? Yes, it was hell.”
He went on to play 45 times last season, helping Marseille to the Europa League final. This is his fifth major tournament with the French national team and he even played against Denmark in the group stage.
Crystal Palace were right to make a move for Mandanda and he might have finally solved their goalkeeping problems. However, it never happened for him in London and Palace fans will be shocked to see him on the verge of a World Cup medal. Unless, England have anything to say about it.