A mammoth crowd took over the streets of Paris to celebrate France’s 1-0 victory after the final whistle of the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between France and Belgium in St Petersburg.
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 of the capital celebrated France’s march to the World Cup final.
A crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch Didier 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 51st minute triggered the waving of a sea of tricolour flags as ecstatic supporters — many in the national team’s colours — kissed and hugged and danced.
“Vive la France, vive la Republique” shouted Alia and Sacha, two Parisian schoolchildren.
“We are so proud to be French tonight!” the young girls explained as around them fire crackers exploded on the cobblestones.
For beating Belgium, France will face England or Croatia in the World Cup final.
Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal for the 1998 champions in the second half with a towering header from Antoine Griezmann’s corner.
Didier Deschamps’ side were on the back foot for large periods of the game, but emerged victorious to reach their third final, having been beaten by Italy on penalties in 2006.
England play Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in the second semi-final on Wednesday (kick-off 19:00 BST) and the final takes places at the same venue on Sunday (16:00 BST).