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French soccer fans queue for shirt carrying second star

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PARIS (Reuters) – Scores of French soccer fans queued on Friday to snap up the first of the national team’s new shirts carrying a second star to mark Les Bleus’ World Cup win in Russia.

The crowning of France as world champions unleashed a wave of euphoria across the country, helping foster a brief sense of national unity after years of tension and self-examination in the wake of attacks by Islamist militants since 2015.

“I’ll keep it all my life. It’s the second star! They made our dreams come true on the pitch,” said fan Brice Chevalier as he queued to enter the French Football Federation’s store in Paris.

France first won the World Cup, earning its first star, in 1998 with Zinedine Zidane its talisman and playmaker in an era when the team was referred to as Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-Arab), a reference to its diverse ethnic make up.

In Russia, they beat Croatia 4-2, with President Emmanuel Macron leaping for joy in the stands.

“I’m chuffed, I’ve been waiting a month for this moment,” said another life-long supporter, Jerome Cornec.

The Nike-branded strips are huge money-spinners. France’s official shirt costs 85 euros (£76.3).

(Reporting by Reuters TV; editing by Richard Lough and Hugh Lawson)

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