VIDEO - Divided loyalties

Should expats support France at the World Cup?

Should expats support France at the World Cup?
French fans celebrate on the Champs Elysees after a football match. Would France-based expats be likely to join them if they win the World Cup in Brazil? Photo: AFP
It's question many of us expats grapple with every time there’s an international football tournament. Here The Local ponders how much loyalty we should show to the tricolor and we also take to the streets of Paris with Parisian News TV to hear the views of other expats.

How French do you feel and how much loyalty do you feel towards your adopted nation?

It may be hard to give a clear answer to those questions, but our true feelings towards "La Belle France" and the Tricolor are often revealed whenever a World Cup comes around.

Given that we live in the country, pay our taxes here, have French friends, even partners and possibly kids, surely it would seem strange not to want Les Bleus to do well at the World Cup in Brazil.

And if they did the unexpected and repeated the stunning success of 1998, wouldn't we join in the party on the Champs-Elysées, without feeling like gatecrashers?

However many expats, especially hardened English ones, would probably rather lock themselves in the pub toilet than join in any Gallic celebrations –  no matter how long they have spent enjoying life in France with French friends and families.

The reality is that in sport, whether its rugby or football, France and England are sworn enemies and for many of the English based in France, that’s all that matters.

Step into any expat pub when France are playing and you’ll normally find a few rowdy English expats unashamedly cheering on the opposition whole-heartedly.

These are the hard-core non-convertibles, who may well wax lyrical about life in France to their mates back home but will never, ever bring themselves to cheer for the famous blue jersey.

But not everyone is like that. Some foreigners living in France will feel integrated enough to proudly cheer on Didier Deschamps and his team in Brazil this summer, unless perhaps, they are playing against their home country.

This probably applies to those from the United States and Australia, whose true feelings have not been tainted by the sporting enmity with France over the years.

And then there's the others, who include the editor of this website.

We will be quite happy to see France do well in the World Cup, win a couple of games, beat the Germans if possible, perhaps even the 'Argies', but not quite go all the way and win it.

A glorious French victory would of course only provoke the inevitable and completely immature and selfish feelings of intense jealousy and bitterness especially given that England probably limped out on penalties once again. Plus France have already won it recently, surely that's enough.

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