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France Vs. Algeria Match Halted

October 6, 2001

SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) _ The first soccer match between France and Algeria was stopped midway through the second half on Saturday after hundreds of fans invaded the field.

France led the exhibition match 4-1 when a small number of fans waving Algerian flags ran onto the field.

Play was briefly interrupted as security personnel rounded them up, but hundreds of fans from the capacity crowd of 80,000 at Stade de France then streamed onto the grass in the 73rd minute of play, overwhelming staff.

Players headed to the locker rooms and the president of Claude Simoneyt, the French Football Federation president, said the match was off and urged fans to go home.

``We can’t start the match again,″ he said over stadium loudspeakers. ``Let’s go home calmly.″

There were no immediate reports or arrests of injuries.

The match was the first between the countries since Algeria gained independence from France in 1962. France has a large Algerian community.

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