'Les Bleus' come home after World Cup win

Kristopher Nichols
July 18, 2018

Hundreds of thousands of ecstatic French fans have celebrated the return of their World Cup-winning football team, jumping and chanting "We Are The Champions" as their bus paraded down the Champs Elysees before a special presidential reception.

Hundreds of police in riot gear were lined up on side streets to monitor revellers.

The first couple then posed with the team as they sang the Marseillaise national anthem and waved scarves for a joyous group photo, before heading inside for a private meeting.

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Youth from the home club of Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old breakout star from the Paris suburb of Bondy, were present at the victory party.

The celebrations were spread across the nation.

SC Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said: "This has been an unparalleled learning opportunity for everyone involved in the preparations for Qatar 2022".

"Maybe they are going to win other titles and, of course, I don't want to undermine any title, but world champion, when you are a professional football player, there is nothing above that".

France captain Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup trophy after the 4-2 defeat of Croatia
France captain Hugo Lloris lifts the World Cup trophy after the 4-2 defeat of Croatia

"We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we've done".

"I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty", said Dalic, whose team had to battle through extra-time in all three of their knockout games before the final.

Antoine Griezmann, the France striker who scored one of the goal's on Sunday (Monday NZT), told a news conference two days before the final, televised on BFM TV, that pride in country is in short supply.

Ecstatic France players crashed Didier Deschamps' press conference after their World Cup victory, chanting his name as they sprayed champagne, water and energy drinks on their coach and assembled journalists.

In Paris, the metro system has temporarily renamed six of its stations in honour of the key players, with the Victor Hugo stop - named after the famed 19th-century writer - becoming Victor Hugo Lloris after the team's goalkeeper.

Macron exulted on the field in Moscow and in the locker room, hugging players as they received their medals even as the skies poured rain. France won, and that's good for the country.

The breathless victory under stormy skies meant his side - a balance of youthful vitality and big-tournament experience - have buried the pain of their defeat in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.

"This is third time I got changed, and I still smell just as bad", Deschamps said through a translator.

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