Media in raptures over France victory

OUTPACE: France's Frederic Michalak, right, gets past the dive of New Zealand's Brendon Leonard during thier quaterfinal match at the Millennium Stadium  in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday. Pic. Tom Hevezi. 06/10/2007. © AP
OUTPACE: France's Frederic Michalak, right, gets past the dive of New Zealand's Brendon Leonard during thier quaterfinal match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday. Pic. Tom Hevezi. 06/10/2007. © AP

PARIS - France's stunning Rugby World Cup win over New Zealand dominated yesterday's front pages after thousands of fans celebrated the win in city centre streets in Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse.

PARIS - France's stunning Rugby World Cup win over New Zealand dominated yesterday's front pages after thousands of fans celebrated the win in city centre streets in Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse.

"It's Immense!," headlined sports daily L'Equipe above a near full-page colour photo of opening try scorer Thierry Dusautoir barging his way through the All Black defence.

"So French!," the paper wrote of the 20-18 win which saw the French hit back from a 3-13 half-time deficit to knock out the tournament favourites.

"The French XV yesterday evening in Cardiff pulled off one of the greatest performances of its history in beating the All Blacks 20-18 in the quarterfinals of the World Cup," the paper wrote.

"Next Saturday, in the semifinals, Les Bleus will take on England at the Stade de France." L'Equipe's elation was echoed in other Sunday newspapers throughout the country.

"Enormous!" headlined Le Journal du Dimanche on its front page, while Le Parisien opted for "Giantesque," continuing in its inside pages with "Heroic, Les Bleus send the whole of France into dreamland."

The French "fooled everyone," Le Parisien wrote "and now for the English," referring to Saturday's other big upset which saw the reigning world champions defeat Australia 12-10 in Marseille in the first of the weekend's quarterfinals.

Down south in Toulouse, regarded by many as the rugby capital of France La Depeche du Midi ran with "Winners!."

"Contrary to what the All Blacks and their supporters thought, the sacred flame that burned within the French team on this great evening never diminished and in the end it consumed the favourites who will be asking themselves for a long time to come what is the secreat behind these diabolical French," the regional paper commented.

La Marseillaise paid tribute to the tactics adopted by French coach Bernard Laporte which consisted of pegging the All Blacks back deep into their own territory with huge downfield kicks.

In Lille, La Voix du Nord wrote:

"To the limits of courage and suspense, Les Bleus are the giants of France."

The night match which kicked off at 9pm French time drew a record television audience of 16,6 million.

This is the best viewing figures of the year for the TF1 private station. - Sapa-AFP

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