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The Eiffel Tower was awash in the national colors and as night fell, it flashed two dates: 1998 and 2018 — the two years France won the World Cup. 

On Paris’ Champs-Elysees, the home crowd was jubilant. Tens of thousands of fans jammed into the broad avenue to celebrate France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in Moscow.

“It represents enormous things,” said Goffrey Hamsik, dressed in a hat resembling a Gallic rooster — an unofficial national symbol — and a shirt with the number 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 …Here, we are all united. We mix. There is no religion, there is nothing, and that’s what feels good.”

As is the case with exuberance, troublemakers marred some of the festivities at the top of the Champs-Elysees. Rioters broke the window of a major store, threw bottles, temporary barriers and even a bicycle at police as the celebrations wound down close to midnight.

Victory celebrations in Paris were marred slightly by some revelers

About 4,000 police who had been discreetly positioned on side streets responded with a water cannon and tear gas.

Earlier on Sunday, people wrapped in flags and dressed in crazy hats marched down the avenue, One man was even spotted totally nude except for the French tricolor flag.

Revelers set off smoke bombs in the national colors — blue, white and red — obscuring Napoleon’s triumphal arch.

People climbed atop every newspaper kiosk and bus stop in the area to wave flags and lead the crowds below in cheers. The French national anthem, the Marseillaise, rang out, cars honked horns and fans perched on motorcycles all cheering for their team.

Most of the celebrations in France were peaceful

The celebrations were spread across the nation and there was a sense of patriotism and unity was almost visceral.

Antoine Griezmann, the France striker who scored one of Sunday’s goals, told a news conference two days before the final, televised on BFM TV, that pride in his country is in short supply.

“We say it so little … We should be proud to be French,” Griezmann said.

We won. Now what?

Mahmoud Bourassi who runs a youth center in Bondy was among those taking a longer-term view and he had some sobering thoughts about France’s run to the title and the festivities it has sparked.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Unfortunate own goal

    Mario Mandzukic (fifth from left) didn’t mean to hinder Croatia’s World Cup chances, but he did exactly that when he unintentionally headed a free kick from Antoine Griezmann into the back of the net for an own goal.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Powerful Perisic

    Ivan Perisic (second from right) lifted Croatia’s spirits when he leveled the score 10 minutes after Mandzukic’s own goal. It was the second consecutive game in which Perisic scored an equalizer.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    VAR controversy

    Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana (right) was called upon by the video assistant referees to determine whether Ivan Perisic (left) handled a ball in the box. Pitana awarded France a penalty after examining the incident himself.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Griezmann converts

    Antoine Griezmann restored France’s lead at 2-1, converting from the penalty spot by sending Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic the wrong way. It was Griezmann’s fourth goal at the World Cup and his third from the spot.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Pogba makes his mark

    Paul Pogba silenced his critics by doubling France’s lead, curling a shot with his weak foot into the back of the net. The goal was just his third for France at a major tournament and his first since the quarterfinals of the 2016 Euros.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Fist pump

    French president Emmanuel Macron certainly loved the spectacle unfolding in front of him while sitting in a VIP box with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Magnificent Mbappe

    Kylian Mbappe (left) punctuated the game with a thunderous strike from outside the penalty area to increase France’s lead to 4-1. With the goal, the 19-year-old became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Brazil’s Pele in 1958.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Present for Croatia

    French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (right) gifted Croatia a second goal. He tried to dribble around Mario Mandzukic (left) after receiving the ball in defense, but Mandzukic poked the ball away before scoring Croatia’s second.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    Didier De-Champion

    French players lifted up their coach, Didier Deschamps, shortly after their World Cup victory was secured. Deschamps, the captain of France’s 1998 World Cup winning team, becomes the third person to win a World Cup as a player and as a coach.

  • World Cup 2018 final in pictures

    France win it all!

    As the rain came down, France lifted the trophy up. They are the World Cup winners, and will be the champions for four more years until the next tournament in 2022, which will be held in Qatar.

    Author: Davis VanOpdorp

“All this euphoria and effervescence, it’s positive but it’s emotional and ephemeral,” he said ahead of France’s win. Bourassi said sports is a “catalyst to bring people and nations together. But, he added, it must be built on.

“What we’re seeing is magic, exceptional. But what are we going to do with it tomorrow?”

That is a question for President Emmanuel Macron. In Paris suburbs like Bondy, youth unemployment is up and there is disenchantment with the French dream.

Most the celebrations in France were peaceful

But for the next few days, France will celebrate its victory on the world stage. It is a magic moment.

Macron, who was in Moscow celebrating with the team’s victory and tweeted “thank you” after the game, will receive the squad more formally on Monday at the Elysee Palace.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Champions du Monde

    Rain could not dampen the spirits of the French team as they lifted the World Cup trophy at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. They beat Croatia 4-2 in the final to win their second ever World Cup.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Best ever finish

    Despite missing out on the final, Belgium were all smiles as they beat England 2-0 in the third place playoff. With the victory, the Red Devils confirmed their best ever finish at a World Cup.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    A new teammate?

    Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic (from left to right) celebrate with a photographer they had just bowled over in their excitement after Mandzukic scored Croatia’s winning goal in their semifinal against England. It looks like the photographer was okay.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Into the final

    France coach Didier Deschamps embraces Samuel Umtiti after their semifinal win over Belgium. Umtiti scored the only goal France would need to reach their first final since 2006. The win means that Deschamps will get the opportunity to become just the third man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager, having been part of the 1998 team that won the title at home in Paris.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    New England hero

    Harry Maguire scores his first international goal in England’s 2-0 quarterfinal win over Sweden. The Leicester City defender, who traveled to France to watch England as a fan, has been one of the feel-good stories of this World Cup

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Belgium beat Brazil

    Romelu Lukaku celebrates after Belgium beat Brazil to make their first ever World Cup semifinals. The Manchester United striker delivered another brilliant performance to help his team to victory on another historic night in Kazan.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Penalty hero

    England finally won a penalty shoot-out at a major tournament, thanks to Eric Dier (pictured above) and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. After a dramatic Round of 16 game, Gareth Southgate’s side made history.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Comeback complete

    Nacer Chadli finishes off a swift move that started with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to score Belgium’s third goal against Japan deep into time added on in their last 16 clash in Rostov Arena. This completed Belgium’s comeback after they had gone down 2-0 in the 52nd minute.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Heroic shot stopper

    Ivan Rakitic scored for Croatia to win the penalty shootout over Denmark, which put the Balkan nation through to the quarterfinals, but it was Danijel Subasic who was the real hero, stopping three shots in the shootout.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Hometown hero

    Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev stopped two in the penalty shootout to send Spain packing. Here he stops Iago Aspas’ effort, his second save, which sent the Cinderella host nation through to the quarterfinals.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    A helping hand

    Edinson Cavani provided the two goals Uruguay would need to get past Portugal in the round of 16, but in the 74th minute he was forced to hobble off injured. Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo rushed over to help him off. A sporting gesture? Perhaps. But with Uruguay in the lead, maybe CR7 was just making sure there was no time-wasting on Cavani’s part.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Major blow

    Some moments are memorable for the wrong reasons. Colombian fans would love to forget this one. James Rodriguez limps off the pitch injured after half an hour of play in his country’s last group stage match against Senegal. Even without their biggest star, Colombia won the match to finish top of Group H.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    South Korea eliminate Germany

    Son Heung-Min wheels away in delight after doubling South Korea’s lead in the dying moments of their Group F clash with Germany in Kazan. The win sent Germany crashing out in the opening round of a World Cup for the first time since 1938. A devastating loss for the reigning world champions.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Messi finally arrives in Russia

    It all happened in a matter of seconds, but it was the moment football fans around the world had been waiting for. Ever Banega supplied the pin-point pass and, two sublime touches later, Lionel Messi was picking out the top corner with his weaker foot. After being late to the party in the group stages, Argentina’s star man has a chance to make amends with France to come in the Round of 16.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Guerrero’s crowning moment

    After having a doping ban temporarily lifted in order to feature at the World Cup in Russia, Paolo Guerrero assisted Peru’s first and scored their second in a 2-0 win over Australia. It was a true captain’s performance, helping Peru secure their first World Cup win since beating Iran back in 1978.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Ronaldo’s emotional rollercoaster

    Cristiano Ronaldo was at the heart of a series of VAR incidents as Portugal drew 1-1 with Iran, finishing as runners-up in Group B. CR7 had a penalty saved by Ali Beiranvand and also picked up a yellow following a review as Iran’s players called for him to be sent off for an incident with Morteza Pouraliganji. A tough end to a what had been a glittering group stage campaign.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Striking from the spot

    Harry Kane scored a first-half hat trick for England in their 6-1 win over Panama in Group G. The Tottenham Hotspur striker already has five goals in the tournament, putting him in the running for the golden boot. Panama also made history scoring their first ever goal at a World Cup courtesy of Felipe Baloy.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Life in the old dog yet

    Toni Kroos curls home Germany’s 95th-minute winner against Sweden. Despite a positive start in Sochi, the same carelessness which had been so costly against Mexico was present again, and Kroos was a major culprit. But the Real Madrid star demonstrated all his experience and class with this free-kick to spare the reigning champions’ blushes.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    A game of two halves with a political twist

    Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his dramatic stoppage time winner over Serbia by making an Albainian eagle gesture with his hands. He and fellow goalscorer Granit Xhaka, who also made the gesture, are of Albanian descent, their families having fleed to Switzerland during the Balkan war. The pair were booed throughout by the match by Serbia fans.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Argentina falter in the other group of death

    If Germany have it bad after their defeat to Mexico, Argentina’s second match against Croatia put the giants in dire straits. Slumping to a 3-0 defeat, triggered by a goalkeeping howler, Lionel Messi and co. no longer have their group stage fate in their own hands. Messi, 30, has already “retired” briefly from international football once before; if he goes to Qatar, it surely won’t be at his peak.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    A surprise guest

    Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter made a shock appearance as Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 on Wednesday. The 82-year-old said he was invited to the tournament by Russian President Vladimir Putin. His successor Gianni Infantino was also at the fixture, according to FIFA’s list of dignitaries. “I am still president, just suspended,” Blatter told Russian channel RT.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    The Egyptian king is back

    Less than a month after the Champions League final, when he sustained a shoulder injury that some thought could threaten his World Cup, Mohamed Salah returned to the pitch. Liverpool’s Egyptian king first drew a foul that led to a penalty and then converted from the spot. But it was a mere consolation as Egypt lost 3-1 to hosts Russia and lost their chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Kane and able

    Harry Kane scored England’s first ever second-half stoppage time World Cup goal to give the Three Lions all three points against Tunisia. Kane had given England a deserved early lead before Tunisia equalized with a controversial penalty. But captain Kane popped up again in injury time with a back-post header to win it for Gareth Southgate’s team.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Beyond Neuer’s reach

    Germany lost their first match at a World Cup for the first time since 1982, when West Germany lost 2-1 to Algeria. This time they fell 1-0 to Mexico. Joachim Löw’s men were beaten by a better organized and more energetic Mexican side. Even Germany’s No. 1, Manuel Neuer, couldn’t prevent the defeat.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    A draw that felt like a victory

    Undeterred by the driving rain, Icelandic fans in Reykjakvik followed their team’s first-ever World Cup match on large video screens set up in the heart of the capital. After the match, they celebrated their team’s 1-1 draw with 2014 finalists Argentina as if it had been a victory.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Messi misses from the spot

    Superstar Lionel Messi and the rest of the Argentinian national team had their problems with Iceland in their opening match in Group D. The 2014 finalists could only manage a 1-1 draw, and Messi, the five-time world footballer of the year, often looked very ordinary indeed. In the 64th minute, he even failed to score from the penalty spot.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Political message

    Shortly before the match between Iran and Morocco kicked off, the Iranian government banned outdoor public gatherings to watch the game. In St. Petersburg, though, Iranian women, who would not be allowed into a stadium in their homeland, took the opportunity to make their view known.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Five star hosts

    One of the lowest-profile opening games to grace any World Cup wasn’t much of a contest. Russia were far too good for a poor Saudi Arabia side and ran out 5-0 winners. Denis Cheryshev (center) came off the bench to score the second and added another sensational strike in injury time.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    “El Gasico”

    The opening fixture of this year’s tournament between two of the world’s biggest gas exporters, Saudi Arabia and Russia, was ironically dubbed “El Gasico” by some fans. Here, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud chats to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, while Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the action.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    Among the stars

    Putin (second from left) also made an appearance before the opening with a plethora of footballing greats. Lothar Matthäus (far left), Pele and Maradona (center), Jay Jay Okocha (far right) and Kanu (back right) were also in attendance.

  • World Cup 2018: Memorable moments

    The show starter

    More than 500 local dancers, gymnasts and performers joined pop star Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina on stage at the tournament’s opening ceremony. Shorter than most such events, the 15-minute-long display also featured speeches from Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

av/sms (dpa, AP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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