France celebrates after beating Morocco to reach World Cup final
PARIS — French football fans took to the streets to celebrate their 2-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday and their ticket to the World Cup final against Argentina.
Fans converged on the Champs-Elysées to celebrate the win, with dancing, chanting and fireworks.
Julien Hervé, a 24-year-old accountant, was watching the match in central Paris and said he was “super happy for France.”
“We are a little disappointed for Morocco, I’ve got Moroccan friends. It would have been great to see an African team in the final, for history. But it was a beautiful game, great goals. I’m going to celebrate on the Champs-Élysées now.”
It was a sadder night for unemployed 25-year-old Morocco supporter Ryan Lazaar. “We didn’t get enough chances to score,” he said. “France is the best team in the world, can’t beat them. I’m French but of Moroccan origin so happy too for France. I’ll support France now. It’s historical, we earned our spot in the semi-final. We Moroccans come from the bottom [of society], it’s too easy for the France team.”
French authorities had beefed up security in major cities ahead of the match to prevent any outbreaks of violence.
On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced that 10,000 extra officers would be deployed, including 5,000 to boost patrols in the Paris region.
“We want … to manage the spontaneous expressions of joy, that often include families, in the context of a terrorist threat, which is the main threat before that of social unrest,” Darmanin told lawmakers in the National Assembly.
While France has more amicable post-colonial ties with Morocco than with its neighbor Algeria, the country has complicated and often strained relations with its immigrant population of North African roots. Ahead of the match, there were concerns celebrations could erupt into violence in France’s impoverished suburbs.
In downtown Brussels, dozens of riot cops moved in rapidly to disperse Moroccan fans who gathered in the street after the final whistle.
After scenes of jubilation following earlier victories, Wednesday night saw small-scale disorder after Morocco’s narrow failure to reach the World Cup final.
As fans threw fireworks and deafening flashbangs, and set fires in the street, police blasted them with a water cannon and deployed tear gas.
France and Argentina will face off in the World Cup final on Sunday. Morocco will face Croatia in the third-place match on Saturday.