French shopkeepers boarded up stores on Paris’ Champs Elysees avenue for potential celebrations while the capital’s metro covered up the name of the “Argentine” station in preparation for Sunday’s World Cup final.
France play Argentina in Qatar later on Sunday, with both nations seeking a third trophy.
“I’m sure that France is going to win, it’s a close-knit team with a young spirit and they have the potential to win,” said Xavier Grand-Jacquot in a wintry Paris. “It’s a spectacular team and they’re going to go all the way.”
The Paris Metro temporarily renamed the “Argentine” underground station “France”, covering up the name with “Allez les Bleus” (Go the Blues) banners.
“For History,” weekend newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche exhorted the French, for whom a win would make them the first back-to-back champions since Brazil in 1962.
The Interior Ministry said 14,000 police were deployed across France with 2,750 in Paris alone to keep celebrations from getting out of control.
Stores along the elegant Champs Elysees, likely to be the centre of celebrations in case of victory, shuttered up windows as a precaution.
“Let’s do it again?” President Emmanuel Macron, in Doha for the final, tweeted with a video of post-match locker-room festivities after France beat Morocco in the semi-finals.
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