French football fans across New Zealand are rejoicing after their country's second football World Cup victory in two decades.

France claimed its second World Cup title this morning (NZ time) after beating Croatia 4-2 in Moscow.

Waihi Beach resident Antoine Spodobalski, originally from the north of France, said he was "relieved" after the final whistle.

"It was a great final. I expected France to win, but I was still scared as Croatia have been really good."


Spodobalski was up at 2.30am to watch the game with the four other members of the Bay of Plenty community's French population.

He was in France in 1998 when his country hosted the World Cup, and claimed its first victory 3-0 over Brazil.

"Then I was 18 years old and there was a huge party in Paris. There will be a big party in Paris today too, I kind of wish I was there."

Instead, Spodobalski had to go to work for the day, however he would resume celebrations later this evening.

"I think we will be having a drink tonight to celebrate."

Spodobalski said he hoped the victory would help to improve racial tensions around immigration in his home country, as it did in 1998.

"When we won in 1998 the country was having issues with immigration too. Like now, that team was black, white and Arab, and it brought everyone closer together."

Chants of "Vive la France" rung out along Auckland's waterfront bars after the final whistle as jubilant French fans celebrated into the morning.


One fan said it was the "best day of my life".

Croatian Kiwi fans were in a more sombre mood, but still positive about their country's efforts.

"Everyone underestimated us, but we made the final," said one fan. "We played top class football."