Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Les Bleus touch down in Paris for victory parade

Les Bleus touch down in Paris for victory parade

Police said more than 250,000 people came out in central Zagreb and many more along the route.

The French squad celebrating from the bus with the crowd.

Croatia also had a celebratory homecoming after their best finish in a World Cup.

The players lined up to sing the national anthem with the packed square thundering in joy. All the energy, everything, seeing them coming here - it was incredible.

The victory has helped bring about a sense of national unity in France.

"I'm so proud, not only of our football team, I'm so proud of our nation."

The France team set off from their Istra base in Russian Federation on Monday morning and were greeted by swathes of fans at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport upon landing - coach Didier Deschamps and bleary-eyed captain Hugo Lloris appearing first from the aircraft with the famous trophy.

Above the partying crowds, nine jets from the Patrouille de France, the air force's acrobatic unit, did an honorary flyover trailing blue, white and red smoke.

The country has been partying ever since their national team beat Croatia 4-2 at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

France's Olivier Giroud, Hugo Lloris, French president Emmanuel Macron, France's Paul Pogba, Benjamin Pavard and other teammates at a reception for the French national football team after they won the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup.

The diverse origins of France's players attracted appreciation during the month-long World Cup.

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"Merci!" Macron, the youngest person to become France's president, told the guests. "This team is attractive because it was united".

Addressing the team, Mr Macron offered advice.

"Don't change", he said, adding, "Never forget where you come from".

Team captain Hugo Lloris was first off the plane brandishing the trophy and greeted by airport staff before a team photo on the tarmac.

The fun continued in the garden with chants led by midfielder Paul Pogba, and off-the-cuff songs.

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France's World Cup champions were cheered by tens of thousands of people on the Champs Élysées yesterday as they were driven down the avenue in an open coach.

The team appeared elated, too, during its victory lap on the bus. Some members threw their scarves into the wild crowd.

In Paris, the metro system 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.

The transport authority tweeted on Monday that the Champs-Elysees Clemenceau has become the Deschamps-Elysees Clemenceau to honor national team coach Didier Deschamps.

"We're not in 1998", said Mounir Mahjoubi, the secretary of state for digital affairs, whose parents emigrated from Morocco.

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