Sun | Dec 16, 2018

French frenzy! - Les Bleus bask in World Cup glory

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
French players celebrate with the trophy after the final match against Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday.
France's Kylian Mbappe kisses the trophy after the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday. France won the final 4-2.
People react on the Champs-Elysées avenue with the Arc de Triomphe on background.
People celebrate on the Champs-Elysées avenue in Paris after France won the soccer World Cup final match between France and Croatia, on Sunday.


France fans did justice to the national team's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday, pouring into Paris' Champs-ElysÈes Avenue by the tens of thousands to celebrate with cheers, stomping, and song in an explosion of joy.

The win marked the second time in 20 years that France has won the World Cup, and came at a time when the people feel needy.

"It represents enormous things," said Goffrey Hamsik, dressed in a hat resembling a cockerel - the French national symbol - and a shirt with the No. 10 for Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old breakout star who hails from the Paris suburb of Bondy.

"We've had lots of problems in France these past years," he said, recalling deadly terror attacks. "This is good for the morale and unites us."

People wrapped in flags and dressed in crazy hats, and one man spotted totally nude except for the tricolour, marched down the avenue where France displayed its military might a day earlier for Bastille Day.

Revellers set off smoke bombs in the national colours - blue, white and red - obscuring Napoleon's triumphal arch. People climbed atop every newspaper kiosk and bus stop to wave flags and lead the crowds below in cheers. The national anthem, the Marseillaise, rang out, cars honked horns and cherry bombs cracks.

A young man sprayed a fire extinguisher on the crowd on a hot afternoon.

Hundreds of police in riot gear were discretely lined up on side streets to monitor revellers. About 4,000 police watched over the fan zone - packed to its 90,000 capacity - during the match, then moved to the Champs-ElyseÈs and neighbouring streets.