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Paris celebrates France’s march to the World Cup final


Paris (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.

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.

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