French goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris holds the cup as the French soccer team arrives at Charles de Gaulle airport, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Roissy, north of Paris. France prepares to welcome home the national soccer team for a victory lap down the grand Champs-Elysees avenue, where hundreds of thousands thronged after the team's 4-2 victory Sunday over Croatia to capture the soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

The Latest: French leader to soccer team: 'Don't change'

July 16, 2018 - 2:52 pm

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on France celebrating team's World Cup victory (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

France's World Cup champions are sharing their win on the soccer field with hundreds of youth at the presidential Elysee Palace after getting a hero's welcome home in Paris.

Following a victory lap down the packed Champs-Elysees Avenue in an open air bus, the squad that defeated Croatia 4-2 in the tournament final on Sunday right attended an informal garden party hosted by President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

Team members sang off-the-cuff songs and Macron told the crowd: "This team is beautiful because it was united."

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

The diverse origins of France's players attracted appreciation during the month-long World Cup. Many of the players grew up in the disadvantaged suburbs of Paris.

Youth from the home club of Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old breakout star from the Paris suburb of Bondy, were present at the victory party.


8 p.m.

France's victorious World Cup team has descended upon Paris' packed Champs-Elysees Avenue in an open bus with Alpha jets streaming the national colors overhead and wild cheers of joy ringing out.

The team's victory lap on Monday a day after France's 4-2 win against Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow culminates celebrations by a nation looking for heroes.

Smoke bombs surged from the crowd of tens of thousands on the avenue, casting a haze that at times obscured the team. Some members threw their scarves into the wild crowd.

At the French presidential palace, captain and goal Hugo Lloris, brandishing the golden trophy, and coach Didier Deschamps were the first to greet President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte on a red carpet in the courtyard.


5:50 p.m.

The members of France's victorious World Cup team have returned home from Russia to triumphant arcs of water heralding their airplane's arrival and a red carpet welcome.

Goalie Hugo Lloris, brandishing the golden trophy from soccer's eminent tournament, and coach Didier Deschamps led the team from the Air France plane to the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Airport personnel and French Sports Minister Laura Flessel, a former champion fencer, were the first to tell them "merci" Monday on behalf of a grateful nation that was sorely in need of a boost.

The team is expected to take a victory lap down the grand Champs-Elysees. Hundreds of thousands of people thronged there after France beat Croatia 4-2 on Sunday to capture the World Cup.

The team's appearance on the Champs-Elysees will be followed by a reception at the presidential palace.


3:10 p.m.

Several Paris Metro stations are temporarily adjusting their names to honor France's World Cup champions.

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

The Etoile station is, for now, "On a 2 Etoiles" (We have 2 stars), to denote France's second World Cup victory. The Victor Hugo station is now Victor Hugo Lloris, after France's standout goalie and team captain.

Joy over the victory brightened the Monday morning commute in Paris, with young people in cars still singing and shouting in celebration.

Celebrations were spread across the nation, and among still-dazed French players themselves.


9:30 a.m.

World Cup, World Cup and more World Cup — that's all France is talking about.

"Eternal Happiness" said Monday's headline in sports daily L'Equipe, summing up the mood of many who can't imagine the euphoria will ever fade. The victory glow brightened the Monday morning Paris commute.

France is readying to welcome home the national soccer team for a parade down the Champs-Elysees, where tens of thousands thronged after the team's 4-2 victory over Croatia Sunday.

President Emmanuel Macron exulted on the field and in the locker room with the players, and is hoping their victory gives him a boost, too. The French, though, are more enamored of the players and of their coach, Didier Deschamps.

Sports Minister Laura Flessel said on Europe-1 radio that the victory allows France's youth "to dare to believe in their dreams."

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