With flags, song, pride, the French celebrate the unifying victory

PARIS – It was a victory for all of France and the local public did justice, reaching the Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris by tens of thousands to celebrate in an explosion of joy.

France 4-2 win over Croatia in the final of the World Cup in Moscow on Sunday marked the second time in 20 years that France won the World Cup, and came at a time when people feel needy.

"It represents huge things," said Goffrey Hamsik, wearing a hat that resembles a rooster – the French national symbol – and a shirt with the number 10 for Kylian Mpappe, the 19-year-old emerging star from the suburb of Bondy in Paris.

"We have" had many problems in France in recent years, "he said, remembering deadly terror attacks." This is good for morality … Here, we are all united. We mix There's no religion, there's nothing, and that's what feels good. "

Problems ruined some of the festivities at the top of the Champs-Elysees, breaking the window of a major store, throwing bottles, barriers The police responded with water cannons and tear gas, and BFM-TV reported that the store was ransacked.

Previously, people were involved in flags, and even a bicycle in the riot police as the celebrations closed around midnight. and dressed in crazy hats, and a man seen totally naked except for the Tricolor, they marched down the avenue where France showed its military might a day earlier for Bastille Day.

The revelers dropped smoke bombs in the national colors , blue, white and red, obscuring Napoleon's triumphal arch. People climbed to the top of each newspaper kiosk and bus stop in the area to shake bande Flush and lead the crowd down in applause. The national anthem, the Marseillaise, rang, the cars played horns and the cherry bombs cracked.

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

Hundreds of riot police lined up discreetly on the side streets to monitor revelers. Typically, celebrations in France end with some broken shop windows and other destruction, and Sunday was no exception. Tear gas was released at a point on the Champs-Elysees. Around 4,000 policemen guarded the fans' area, packed to their capacity of 90,000, during the match, then moved to the Champs-Elysees and the neighboring streets.

At nightfall, the Eiffel Tower shined between 1998 and 2018 to mark the two world titles of France titles.

The Arc de Triomph was flooded with national colors, lit up with the rooster, the faces of the winning team and the words "Proud of being blue" or French.

The celebrations spread throughout the nation.

For all the crazy antics and some revelers that got out of control, a sense of patriotism and unity was almost visceral.

Antoine Griezmann, the French forward who scored one of the goals on Sunday, said at a press conference two days before the final, televised on BFM TV, that pride in the country is scarce.

"We say very little … We should be proud to be French," Griezmann said.

Mahmoud Bourbadi was among those with a longer-term vision and he had something to worry about about France's race for the title and the festivities it has unleashed.

Bourbadi runs a youth center in the house of Bondy – Mbappe, which was one of those marked by riots in 2005 that exposed France's fissures that have not yet been cured, and he knows the teenage star of the tournament.

"All this euphoria and effervescence, is positive but emotional and ephemeral," he said before the victory of France. Bourbadi said that sports are a "catalyst to unite people and nations."

But, he added, it must be built.

"What we are seeing is magic, exceptional, but what are we going to do with it tomorrow?"

That's a question for President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Moscow celebrating with the team the night of the victory, and will receive the squad more formally on Monday in the presidential palace of the Elysee.

The revelers celebrated the moment.

"We're happy, it took 20 years … It's the pride of the nation, it unites everyone, it's federated," said Frederique Pourquet as she and her friend left the Champs-Elysees.

The victory "shows that the French people are consolidated and the work of all France," said Omar Bzi.

Hajar Maghnaoui, from Asnieres, north of Paris, said: "It is a way of uniting the French, and also the world."


John Leicester in Moscow contributed to this report.

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