France World Cup win soured as teen boy killed in hit-and-run tragedy
A teenage boy has been hit and killed by a car in southern France and the suspect remains at large, in a devastating aftermath to the country's semi-final victory over Morocco at the World Cup. The 14-year-old, whose name was not made public, died after being hit by the vehicle while celebrating France's victory in the southern city of Montpellier.
Authorities say the suspect driving the car "violently hit" and killed the teenage boy, before turning around and speeding off away from the crowd in what has been described as a "cowardly act". Police later found the car abandoned but are still searching for the person who was driving it.
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In images and videos on social media, the car can be seen driving "dangerously" close to people in the street. The vehicle was draped in French colours, with someone from the crowd reportedly grabbing a flag hanging out the side of the vehicle.
In an apparent panic, the driver then accelerated into two teenagers before speeding off, with the 14-year-old victim going into cardiac arrest after being struck. He tragically died after being rushed to hospital.
"Immense sadness that a sporting event should end in total tragedy," said local MP Nathalie Oziol, who expressed her sympathy with the boy's family. Mayor Michaël Delafosse added that everyone was appalled and in shock at "this terrible tragedy", and hoped the perpetrator of "this cowardly act" would be brought to justice.
The shocking tragedy came amid wild scenes across France, including in the capital Paris, where fans set off flares and clashed with police around some of the city's most iconic sights. French authorities say around 170 arrests were made nationwide, including more than 100 in Paris.
Police were called in to disperse a group of fans setting off fireworks around the Arc de Triomphe, but for the most part the wild scenes in the capital were of a celebratory nature as French supporters waved flags and let off flares down the Champs-Elysees to celebrate their team's victory.
A French anti-riot police van was even used to mark the moment substitute Randal Kolo Muani sealed Les Blues' place in Monday morning's (AEDT) final against Argentina, with his side's late second goal against Morocco. The French police vehicle set off one its sirens after the goal was scored as fans celebrated long into the night.
Morocco launches complaint against World Cup referee
In further fallout to France's win - which saw Didier Deschamps' side become the first team since Brazil in 1998 to make consecutive World Cup finals - Morocco's football federation has lodged a complaint to FIFA over referee Cesar Ramos' performance. The Royal Morocco Football Federation (FMRF) is unhappy about a number of contentious incidents in the match.
Morocco's players were incensed when winger Sofiane Boufal collided with Theo Hernandez in the France box, with the referee awarding Les Bleus a free-kick instead of a Morocco penalty. He then proceeded to book Boufal, provoking a furious reaction from Walid Regragui's men.
Substitute Selim Amallah was later dragged down in the France area as he awaited a free-kick delivery, though Ramos once again chose not to award a spot-kick.
"The FMRF has written to the relevant body to review the refereeing decisions that deprived the Moroccan team of two penalties that were indisputable in the view of several refereeing specialists," the organisation said in a statement. "The FMRF was equally astonished that the video assistant referee (VAR) did not react to these situations."
Morocco made sporting history in Qatar by becoming the first African team to reach the final four of a World Cup. Despite their heart-breaking semi-final loss, the Atlas Lions have a chance to finish the tournament on a high in Saturday's third-place play-off against Croatia (2am Sunday AEDT).
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