• France's news in English

VIDEO: Les Bleus put a smile on French faces

Ben McPartland · 20 Nov 2013, 10:28

Published: 20 Nov 2013 10:28 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The national mood in France was given much needed boost on Tuesday after Les Bleus created history with a stunning comeback to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Didier Deschamps’ side produced an admirable performance to overcome a 2-0 first leg deficit by beating Ukraine 3-0 in front of a jubilant and relieved home crowd at the Stade de France.

It was the first time a team had achieved such a turnaround in a two legged play-off, and the defiant mood was summed by one group of supporters who held a banner aloft 'Impossible' n'est pas français" (Impossible is not French referencing Napoleon's famous quotation on the subject.

That was to become one of the themes of the night as a wave of euphoria swept over social media and the nation buzzed from the badly-needed shot to its collective self-esteem.

The victory, which many French deemed impossible before the match, sparked scenes of jubilation in Paris, where supporters descended onto the famous Champs Elysees to celebrate.

Even the French press, who were sharpening their knives before the match, doffed their hats to Les Bleus for their efforts in restoring the faith of the nation in its national team.

“RESPECT”, read  the one-word headline on the front cover of sports paper L’Equipe on Wednesday. The newspaper, which has been critical of Les Bleus in the past, simply said: “They did it!” and talked of a “page having been turned” after the debacle of the World Cup in South Africa 2010.

The headline in Le Parisien read “Welcome to Brazil” adding "Les Bleus have put a smile back on our faces." 

The atmosphere was a remarkable turnaround from Friday night after the 2-0 defeat to Ukraine when it appeared the love and belief in the French national team had all but disappeared.

After their victory, French players took the opportunity to get one over the journalists, by showering them with champagne. (See the video below).

Tuesday night's victory was greeted as a watershed moment after the recent years of failure and scandal that have dogged the team.

Noel Le Gräet the head of the French Football Association (FFF) “talked about a new beginning” after the game. He also announced that Didier Deschamps’ contract as coach of the national team would be extended until the summer of 2016, when France hosts the European Championships.

Deschamps' existing deal had been due to expire after next year's WorldCup. "Didier has my full confidence and he will continue with Les Bleus until Euro 2016," Le Gräet told press at the Stade de France.

It was an expensive night for Marc Dorcel, a hardcore France fan in more ways than one.

One of the world's biggest producers of pornographic films, Dorcel offered free access to his online videos in the event of a French triumph. Within a minute of the final whistle his server was overwhelmed by fans eager to take him up on the promise.

Tuesday’s match was played in front of watching French President François Hollande, who will no doubt be hoping the result will bring a much-needed feel good factor to the country and perhaps even give him a boost in the opinion polls.

And he wasn’t the only politician celebrating victory. His ex-partner Ségolène Royal took to Twitter saying "What a pleasure to see all the tricolours in the stadium and for once all the players sang the Marseillaise."

Alexis Corbiere, from the Left Front party joked that the President could do with bringing the hero of the night Mamadou Sakho into his cabinet to replace the beleagured Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault. "Exclusive. Government reshuffle: Hollande sacks Ayrault and names Sakho Prime Minister.

Hollande himself praised the team and the manager for their exploits. "In France, we have a tendency to complicate the task. France won and the victory must be savoured. This qualification is down to the coach and the players only.”

Attention will soon turn turn to the draw that will take place on December 6th to find out who France will come up against in the group stages of the competition. Although for now, no one in France is thinking that far ahead, they are just relieved to see their team come back from the dead and restore a little bit of hope.

"This team's mission will not be to defend a homeland in danger or pull it out of the financial crisis, but just to make us dream," said L'Equipe.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available