FRANCE is one of the oldest nations on Earth and the most ethnically diverse country in Europe. And it is also famous for romance and where the unexpected can always become the expected or norm.
And what a tournament the 2023 World Cup Rugby it has been. Maybe it is charm of France or maybe it's just the country to provide the thrills and spills that no one expects.
The 1998 football World Cup was just that with plenty of action filled with thrilling moments. So is the Rugby world Cup so far and you can bet everyone is already looking forward next year's biggie ... that every four year once sports showpiece - the summer Olympics.
If the charm of the French is anything to go by after witnessing soccer and rugby at its best then get set for a roaring and smashing 2024 Olympics that may yet serve sports fans the best ever sports showpiece that one will ever see or witness.
Preparation for the Olympics has so far been smooth and successful and the organising of the rugby World Cup so far has been superb.
Still any sports fan will admit that watching sports in France has always been an exciting watch anyway. They host Tour de France, the biggest bicycle event in the world, every year and of course, the Roland Garros host the French Open every year and that too has its rich history in unbelievable performances and results.
Many in Europe are also waiting for another historical event at the 2023 Paris Olympics already.
In fact a rare feat may be seen in Paris next year at the Games where taking to the air rather than the road may even soon be possible in the city as an electric air taxi service is in the pipeline and could be launched during the 2024 Olympic Games.
That indeed will be a spectacle.
But even the opening ceremony is creating ripples around the sporting fraternity.
The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics will be the first to be held outside of a stadium. The Parade of Nations will take place on boats on the Seine River, snaking its way toward the Eiffel Tower.
Meanwhile, Breaking makes its Olympic debut at the Place de la Concorde. Surfing, which debuted in Tokyo, returns, but there are no waves in Paris. Instead, it will be held at Tahiti in French Polynesia, at 9,800 miles the farthest away an Olympic medal competition has been held from the host city.
In short, the Paris Olympics promises it all. From a marathon start at the Hotel de Ville to beach volleyball at the Eiffel Tower, the 2024 Games will showcase the City of Lights as heavily as the athlete.
So much to look forward to Paris 2024. But spare a thought for Rugby in France in for now.
What a tournament it has been, Have you ever thought you can see New Zealand, ever lose a group match in world Cup Rugby. It did happen here and it was accomplished by none other than host France.
Clearly they looked the favourite to win the title right after their first battle. But France just got hit by a ton of bricks few days back.
Their chances of winning the coveted trophy is in big trouble as they have probably lost the services of star halfback and inspirational captain Antoine Dupont.
The brilliant No 9 broke his jaw and trudged off the field against Namibia on Friday morning. Dupont has had surgery on a fractured cheekbone sustained in the 96-0 win over Namibia.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) said the scrum-half would return to France's squad "in a few days" but has not confirmed how long he will be unavailable for. But chances him coming back at his best looks slim. Even if he does play, will be able to stand up to the injury and be at his best in the tough, tough world of a rugby match.
"Following his injury sustained during the France-Namibia match, Antoine Dupont underwent surgery at Toulouse's Purpan University on September 22 at around 11pm [local time]," the FFR said of the 2021 world player of the year.
"In a few days' time, he will be able to return to the French team as part of a gradual sporting recovery under medical supervision."
And the great Dupont, being Dupont, responded on social media and said: "Wounded but not sunk. Show must go on. Can't wait to return to the squad."
The world of rugby as it.
But this tournament not only witnessed the sinking of the Kiwis by the French.
Australia were given a lesson by a superb Fiji side and then defending World Cup champions South Africa were run to the ground by a never-say-die Irish side.
England, another favourite, while having been unbeaten has been tested severely by all their opponents.
Even the Portugal-Romania match was an unforgettable affair on Saturday. Portugal came so close to a sweet first victory in the World Cup but Romania denied them with a last-gap try to end the game 18-18.
Halfway through the mark, it has a fantastic tournament with an electric atmosphere as many matches are played in front of full houses. Fans are just loving it.
Many fans also have said it has been edition of the World Cup - the atmosphere, the matches and the people have just been electrifying.
And in short, its best kind of setting for the 2024 Olympics,a tournament where many Asian athletes are also ready to make their mark and also those from South-East Asia who aim to show they are here to compete and win.
And as the French say - 'sois prêt' (get ready) for the 2024 Paris Olympics. (p.s. As soon as the rugby action is over that is) ...