France hails ‘day of glory’

The France team return from the World Cup in Russia at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France - July 16, 2018. France's Hugo Lloris holds the trophy as they arrives.
The France team return from the World Cup in Russia at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France - July 16, 2018. France's Hugo Lloris holds the trophy as they arrives.
Image: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Newspapers and TV stations hailed France’s World Cup victory on Monday, while cleanup crews worked against the clock to tidy up after a crazy night’s partying in Paris ahead of a victory parade down the Champs Elysees.

“Our Day of Glory Is Here”, newspaper Le Figaro declared, referencing a rousing line from the Marseillaise anthem.

“History Made”, sports daily L’Equipe announced, while business journal Les Echos went for the more straightforward “Champions of the World”.

Photos of superstars Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, as well as shots of the team holding aloft and kissing the trophy, dominated coverage.

The win has created a sense of national unity, with commentators noting the fact that the squad, the second-youngest in the competition, includes many of central and north African heritage, even if all but two were born in France.

When the country won its first World Cup in 1998, when Zinedine Zidane was its talisman and playmaker, the team was referred to as “Black-Blanc-Beur” (Black-White-Arab), a positive reference to its diverse ethnic make-up.

But some were keen to push that phrase to one side, seeing in it a sense of separateness, even if it was meant positively.

“We’re not in 1998,” Mounir Mahjoubi, secretary of state for digital affairs, whose parents emigrated from Morocco, said.

“We’re not still celebrating ‘Black-Blanc-Beur’, we’re celebrating brotherhood.”

Videos shot by the players in the frenetic changing room after the win showed them singing, dancing and raising a toast together, while teaching President Emmanuel Macron, who could barely contain his excitement, how to do a “dab”.

For Macron, who became president last year at the age of 39, taking his political movement to victory against the odds, the team’s success is likely to have positive repercussions after a slump in the polls.

The Paris metro system got into the celebratory mood, announcing brief changes to the names of a number of stations to honour the players and coach Didier Deschamps.

The 2km Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe and the vast Place de la Concorde turned into a heaving sea of people on Sunday night, waving red, white and blue flags, setting off firecrackers and blowing hooters until early morning.

On Twitter, Brazil legend Pele paid tribute to the exploits of Mbappe, France’s standout, 19-year-old superstar.

-Reuters

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