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France vs Belgium: Paris celebrates Les Bleus march to World Cup final

France vs Belgium: Paris celebrates Les Bleus march to World Cup final

People celebrate France’s victory in central Paris on July 10, 2018 after the final whistle of the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between France and Belgium. Photo: AFP

The French national anthem La Marseillaise, chants of “We’re in the final” and a cacophony of car horns and fire crackers rang out over Paris on Tuesday as residents in the capital celebrated France’s march to the World Cup final.

A crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch Dider Deschamps’ team beat Belgium 1-0 in their semi-final in Saint Petersburg on a giant screen at Paris’ historic Hotel de Ville, or town hall.

With viewing space at a premium every vantage spot was occupied — with fans perched on trees, on top of vans, on dustbins and bus shelters.

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Samuel Umtiti’s decisive goal in the 52nd minute triggered the waving of a sea of tricolors, ecstatic fans many in the national team’s colours kissed and hugged and danced.

The Rue de Rivoli, normally choc-a-bloc with traffic, became a temporary pedestrian zone as crowds made their way along it past the Louvre to the Champs-Elysees, where 20 years earlier Paris had gathered to celebrate France’s World Cup win on home soil.

AFP