Les Verts and French Socceire
If we do not qualify from this group, it would be a catastrophe." So erupted one of the guests on Eugène Saccomano's boisterous though unique Monday evening football show on LCI cable, "On refait le match". The draw for the 2006 World Cup qualifiers had just been announced and this gutterance was propelled by France's unease with itself after its embarrassing exit from Euro 2004. The match nul against the Irish on 9th October would only deepen their angst. '98 is dead and gone, Zizou too (as a Blue), the French team has flopped (more than once), and the nation is in post-mondial depression.(798 mots)
Amélie's smashing win, but...
Poor Amélie! At last the French number 1 women's tennis champion has lifted a grand slam title, by beating the Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Australian Open 2006 final. But Mauresmo, while no doubt rightly over the moon about her first slam, must feel slightly let down by the way her opponent retired at 2-0 down in what looked like being the final set. Mauresmo was leading 6-1, 2-0 when Henin-Hardenne complained to the umpire of having "no energy".(307 mots)
Keane to be Best
I was going to write about Nicolas Sarkozy, but something far more important has come up, beautifully booting the French establishment’s Incrediboy off the page. (Indestructiboy, pour les Français.) The great George Best, a true “Incredible”, has finally left us, as Eric Cantona put it, to weave his soccer magic in Heaven. Best’s premature though not unexpected death at 59 has saddened millions of sporting fans around the world, including in France. It is the final episode in a tragicomedy which had been unfolding for over 40 years. This was George Best, the “fifth Beatle”, the 60s artist-cum-playboy with that Paris Match celebrity touch which the French admire. No movie will ever match it, though Robert de Niro’s “Raging Bull” comes close.(773 mots)
Ireland-France: A World Cup decider
Anyway, where to watch the match on Wednesday? I would like to locate a decent Irish commentary for the game, I don't think I could handle the bias on French television's crassiest channel, TF1. France and Ireland do not play each other every day, and despite Ireland's progress over the years in football, some lazy journalists here continue to paint up the Irish as a firey, unruley bunch of guerriers.(389 mots)
All Blacks rattle the French
Saw France v All Blacks, forget the tries, for the first 35 mins France held them at 12-6, but already it was clear that they were being milled. (Even the opening dance, or Haka, was more impressive than usual!) Unbelievable steam-rolling. Then I switched off as we had guests. Then switched back on 30 minutes later and it was 38-6 to the All Blacks.(384 mots)
Italians crash out of Euro2004
And so another euro championship eludes the great Italians. Poor Italy. They screwed up last night, or rather, a few nights ago against Sweden.(109 mots)
Can Zizou's France do it again?
France have rode their luck so far in Euro 2004. They earned some of their fortune, for instance, against England, where pressure, however feeble, against a defensive English team, was always likely to yield something in the end.(390 mots)