World Cup

Jubilation on Paris Champs-Elysees after France makes World Cup final

In celebration of Les Bleus’ victory against Morocco and advancement to the World Cup final, French fans waved tricolor flags and set off flares on the Champs-Elysees avenue in the heart of Paris on Wednesday.

Given the possibility for conflict between French supporters and those supporting France’s former colony in North Africa, approximately 10,000 police officers were deployed throughout France to guarantee the game and its aftermath went off without a hitch.

According to AFP correspondents, there was little evidence of unrest as fans crowded the end of the avenue leading to the Arc de Triomphe in fervent but mainly amicable scenes, with Moroccan supporters accepting loss.

“We are in the final. We are in the final,” hundreds of French supporters chanted as drivers sounded horns and anti-riot police lurked in vans lining the area.

“What pleasure it will be to play Argentina in the final,” said Sylvain Badin, 24, clutching a French flag. “I came to share a moment of joy,” he added.

Numerous Moroccan supporters in the region also made themselves heard throughout the game by donning the country’s flag and watching it on their phones.

“We lost but it’s only football and we made history by making the semifinals. We are proud of our country and happy for France,” said Kamal Seddiki, a Moroccan student, 22.

When Morocco and France advanced to the semifinals over the weekend, there had been 170 arrests made nationally, including 100 in Paris.


However, there didn’t seem to be any tension during the celebrations, and a van of the French anti-riot police even marked the moment when Kolo Muani scored the goal to give France a commanding 2-0 lead by sounding one of its sirens.

However, anti-riot police intervened to scatter a group of supporters who were lighting pyrotechnics near the Arc de Triomphe.

However, after the game when thousands had congregated in the city center, garbage cans in the southern city of Nice were set on fire, according to an AFP photographer.

Police in Lyon also deployed tear gas when protesters started setting off fireworks in the main Place Bellecour.

The connection France has with Morocco is not even close to as painful as that with Algeria, which is next door and engaged France in a brutal seven-year War of Independence that still leaves scars on both countries.

However, Morocco, which gained independence from France in 1956, has its disagreements with France, most notably regarding the issue of visas, like with any post-colonial relationship.

Security authorities had been on high alert for any incidents like those in Brussels that marked Morocco’s shocking victory over Belgium in the group stages because it is estimated that over a million Moroccans reside in France.

“We are happy for France,” said Hossam Boutalah, 20, a Moroccan flag on his back in the southwestern city of Bordeaux where the central square was packed for the match.

“We are brothers after all, we are together. It is our second country. Morocco played well and would have deserved to score a goal,” he said

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