Paris: Patriotic fervour gripped Euro 2016 hosts France and Portugal yesterday with Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo cast as the rival superheros ahead of the tournament final.
A female fan cheers for France at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille
France saw a return to the feverish days of 1998 when Zinedine Zidane guided the country to a World Cup triumph.
Portugal go into tomorrow’s final seeking to erase their football nightmare of losing the Euro 2004 final on home ground to unheralded Greece.
French fans takes to the streets in Marseille after their team stormed into the final Euro 2016 beating Germany 2-0 on Thursday. pics/afp
National celebrations broke out across France after Griezmann scored twice in a famous 2-0 win over Germany in Marseille on Thursday.It was France’s first victory over their rivals in a major tournament since 1958. There have been three heartbreak defeats in the World Cup since.
Air horns and blue-red-white tricolor flags dominated the night-time streets after the win. Some 90,000 people watching the game on a giant screen under the Eiffel Tower erupted in joy. Riot police charged youths, who caused trouble on the Champs Elysees avenue however.
Politicians sought to catch the wave of football popularity. "I never doubted France’s victory" in the semi-final, said Prime Minister Manuel Valls, adding that he was also "confident" for the final.