FIFA World Cup 2018: Paris parties as France beat Belgium to reach finals

Samuel Umtiti headed France into the FIFA World Cup 2018 final on Tuesday as Didier Deschamps’ side stayed on course to repeat their triumph of 1998 after overcoming a vibrant Belgium team 1-0.

football Updated: Jul 11, 2018 02:14 IST
FIFA World Cup 2018,Paris,Belgium
People cheer and wave French flags as they gather at a fan zone in Paris during their FIFA World Cup 2018 match against Belgium.(AFP)

Paris has erupted in firecrackers, flares and shouts and tears of joy after France advanced to the World Cup final.

Red smoke rose up from flares fired by fans on the Right Bank esplanade outside City Hall, where crowds watched a broadcast of the 1-0 victory over Belgium on huge screens Tuesday night.

Fans poured onto streets around the city, from the chic Champs-Elysees to working-class neighborhoods on the edge of town. Firecrackers popped in quick succession, punctuated by car horns and football chants and “On est en finale!” or “we’re in the final!”

READ | World Cup: Samuel Umtiti’s goal helps France edge past Belgium to enter third final

Some streets were closed to car traffic to accommodate fans. Police vans lined the busiest areas in a city still on guard after extremist attacks.

France will face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between England and Croatia in the World Cup decider in Moscow on Sunday. The French public, celebrities and politicians have rallied around the national team as it advanced.

READ | Belgium’s Roberto Martinez disappointed after loss against France

Samuel Umititi scored the only goal in the semifinal with a header in the 51st minute at the St. Petersburg stadium in Russia.

Umititi says “We worked really hard together, and it’s me that scored but we all delivered a big game.”

His live TV interview was interrupted by teammate Antoine Griezmann, who saluted to the camera and said: “Vive la France! Vive la Republique!”

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 02:13 IST