France players celebrating election results back home ahead of Euro 2024 semifinal

MUNICH (AP) — France players are already celebrating something at the European Championship — the result of the elections back home.

A leftist coalition that came together to try to keep the far right from power in France won the most parliamentary seats in Sunday’s runoff parliamentary election.

“The victory of the People,” France midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni wrote on X.

The first-round vote on June 30 saw major gains for National Rally, potentially putting the far right in a position to govern France for the first time since World War II.

“Congratulations to all those who came forward in the face of the danger that hovered over our country,” France forward Marcus Thuram put on his Instagram story, after a graphic of the projected outcome. “Long live diversity, long live the Republic, long live France. The fight continues.”

Thuram had already spoken out last month about the “sad reality” of the political situation back home and France’s players have consistently been vocal at Euro 2024 with calls to get out to vote in parliamentary elections.

Captain Kylian Mbappé had warned that his country was in a “catastrophic” political situation.

“The relief is equal to the worry of these recent weeks, it is immense,” France defender Jules Koundé wrote on X.

“Congratulations to all the French people who mobilized so that this beautiful country that is France does not find itself governed by the extreme right.”

France plays Spain in a semifinal in Munich on Tuesday, hoping to reach its fourth major final in the past eight years.

That would be against either England or the Netherlands in Berlin on Sunday.

The France players didn't watch the elections as a group, going to their rooms after training and dinner.

“We were worried because it's important, even if we have other things on our mind,” midfielder Adrien Rabiot said at a news conference on Monday. "We haven't spoken about it collectively but I think a lot of people were relieved.

“I've always said that sports and politics don't mix well. We have a semifinal to play. We told people to go and vote and there was a very high turnout, democracy spoke. We need to leave the analysis to others who know better. Is it a good thing or bad thing? I don't know.”

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024