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T&T fans celebrates France World Cup victory
Traffic across T&T grinned to a halt for over three hours yesterday as football fanatics and occasional supporters paused to watch France outplay Croatia 4-2 to claim its second World Cup title.
While most chose to watch the highly anticipated final with family and friends at home, thousands gathered at various liming spots, restaurants, sports bars and at three official fan zones before the kick-off at 11 am time.
The fan zones, which were sponsored by Guardian Media Limited (GML), were held at the ML Ballpark in Macoya, MovieTowne's Fiesta Plaza in Port-of-Spain and The Rig Restaurant in San Fernando.
The majority of fans appeared to support the eventual winners as they wore their replica T-Shirts or blue-the colour of the French national team to vividly show which team they were backing.
Although there were almost no Croatia fans at the fan zones, neutral supporters, who made up the majority of those present, chose to support the underdogs as their favourite national teams were either sent home earlier in the tournament or did not qualify.
"My team already home so I backing Croatia. I like their spirit and Modric is a boss," one German fan said.
"They (Croatia) are one of the smallest countries in the World Cup. They should be an inspiration for us," one young fan said.
Many still seemed optimistic as France narrowly led Croatia 2:1 at halftime.
"They could still come back. They come back from behind in most of their games," one Brazilian fan said.
Some French fans appeared pensive as they discussed the possibility of their team losing another final after going ahead as against Italy in the 2006 World Cup final in Germany.
"My heart can't take another loss in a final like two years ago with Portugal. Not this time," one fan said.
However, by mid-way through the second half, it was apparent to all present that Croatia would need a miracle to get back in the game. Delirious France supporters were already celebrating well before the referee blew the final whistle at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
Throughout the game, GML radio, television and its Guardian newspapers personalities held competitions in the fan zones including penalty shoot-outs and ball raising competitions. Winners received world cup memorabilia and CNC3 branded merchandise.
Soca star Akeem "Preedy" Chance entertained fans at the ML Ballpark after the game.
Chance gave a freestyle performance of his hit song "Say Yeah", in which he modified the lyrics to fit the occasion.
"If you support Croatia even if they lose. Let me hear you say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah," Chance said.
Much to the amusement of those present, Chance also acknowledged his striking resemblance to France centre-back Samuel Umtiti.
"Allyuh make some noise for Umtiti. You ain't see how I play today," he said.
As local French fans celebrated their team's victory, some French citizens joined their ambassador Serge Lavroff for a viewing party at the French Embassy in St Clair.
Speaking with CNC3 after the game, Lavroff thanked fans of his country's football team for their support.
"They (the players) dedicated this day to all of our supporters around the world who brought cheers, applause, vibrations and support to our country. This shows that France has a lot of friends across the world including here in T&T," Lavroff said.
Lavroff said he and his staff were confident of the victory even before the start of the tournament, last month.
"We had a very new and young team, They were focused and motivated, They were fit and had the technical skills and of course we had a good coach in Didier Deschamps," Lavroff said.
Lavroff said he expected the celebrations at the embassy and back home in France to last until this morning.
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