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French World Cup celebrations marred by deaths, injuries

media Blue, White, and Red lights and two World Cup stars are projected on the Eiffel Tower after France win the Soccer World Cup final REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Millions of French people partied into the early hours of Monday morning after France won the 2018 football World Cup. But the celebrations were marred by at least two deaths, road accidents and clashes between fans and police.

From the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the southern port of Marseille, the whole country seemed to be taken over by a giant party on Sunday night after France's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final.

US singing stars sported French team shirts, decorated two stars to mark the 1998 and 2018 World Cup victories, at their concert at the Stade de France on Sunday night.

President Emmanuel Macron was to welcome the team back to Paris on Monday and thousands were expected to turn out to watch the players to ride down the Champs Elysées in an open-top bus.

Two dead, several injured

But several incidents spoiled the festivities.

In Paris a man was taken to hospital in critical condition after being headbutted by an assailant wearing a motorcycle helmet during a fight involving about 20 people near the Champs Elysées.All the other people involved fled the scene before the emergency services arrived.

On the Champs Elysées itself about 30 people, some wearing ski masks, smashed the windows of the Publicis Drugstore and stole bottles of wine, some filming themselves on their cellphones.

Further south, in Lyon, about 100 youths who had climbed on top of a police vehicle during an open-air showing of the match set fire to bins and threw projectiles at police who had fired teargas to disperse them.

In Frouard, near the eastern city of Nancy, a three-year-old boy and two six-year-old girls were seriously injured after being hit by a motorcycle.

The motorcyclist fled the scene, according to officials.

In the south-eastern city of Annecy a 50-year-old man died after breaking his neck when he jumped into a shallow canal as the final whistle blew.

A man in his 30s crashed into a tree while celebrating after the game in Saint-Félix in northern France.

Bastille Day arrests

The World Cup victory came hot on the heels of Friday and Saturday's Bastille Day celebrations.

Some 845 cars were burnt on the two nights of 13 and 14 July, lower than last year's 897, while 508 people were arrested, higher than 2017's 368, according to police, who say that 29 of their officers were injured.

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