There has been wild jubilation and celebration in Paris and other cities in France as the country beat Croatia 4-2 to win soccer’s World Cup in a pulsating final in Moscow.
In the capital, where 90,000 people watched the match on vast TV screens next to the Eiffel tower, there were choruses of the Marseillaise, honking horns and hundreds of thousands of red, white and blue tricolor flags fluttering on the breeze.
The boom of fireworks and firecrackers filled the air, while drivers honked their horns incessantly to celebrate France’s second world title after their triumph on home soil in 1998.
A deafening chorus of “We are the champions, We are the champions” rang out from the Sacre Coeur in the north of the city to the Sorbonne on the Left Bank. Similar scenes erupted in Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux and other major cities.
Even before the final whistle, crowds streamed on to the Champs Elysees, the elegant, tree-lined boulevard that runs up to the Arc de Triomphe, the traditional gathering place for celebration, including the Bastille Day parade 24 hours earlier.
The entire area around the Arc de Triomphe, all the way down the two-kilometer-long Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde at its end was a sea of singing and cheering people.
“It’s just astonishing what they’ve done,” said Josh, 41, who traveled from Brittany to Paris to watch the match with his girlfriend. “Pogba, Mbappe, Grizou (Griezmann) — they’re on top of the world,” he said, naming three of the standout players.
“We’re the champions of the world! It’s phenomenal, just phenomenal.”
More than 250,000 people were expected to descend on the Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde, yet the atmosphere was warm and convivial. Security forces kept a distance.
“To get a second star (World Cup) after 20 years, it’s just brilliant,” said Tommy Hamon, 23, who was working in Le Deauville, a bar on the Champs Elysees.
Congratulations to France!!!