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WORLD CUP

The best places to watch the World Cup final around France (if you want atmosphere)

If you are in France this Sunday and want to watch the World Cup final with thousands of other fans in a fevered atmosphere then head to one of these locations.

The best places to watch the World Cup final around France (if you want atmosphere)
Photo: Rennes Ville Metropole

France play Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday at 5pm French time. Finding a place to watch the match could be a mission if the semi-final was anything to go by as bars, pubs and restaurants will be packed to the limit, both in cities and small towns.

So perhaps the best solution is to head to one of the big screens being set up in cities around the country. The atmosphere will be electric and you should at least be able to see the screen, which won't necessarily be the case if you head to a bar.

We've picked out some of the most exciting screenings around the country. Get in touch if you know of any others we should include. 

Bordeaux

Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé had been under pressure to put up a big screen for the final and he finally cracked this week, announcing that the game would be shown live at the Chaban-Delmas stadium.

An estimated 30,000 fans are expected to attend. The gates will open at 2.30pm and fans will only be allowed to watch from the stadium's stands rather than on the grass.

Aix-En-Provence

The mayor of Aix has announced a fan zone at Cours Mirabeau for the final match this coming Sunday. The match will be shown on a 33 square metre screen. Doors will open at 2pm.

Rennes

The place to be in the western city of Rennes on Sunday is the esplanade Charles de Gaulle, where some 20,000 delirious people watched France beat Belgium in the semi-final.

 

Cannes

A secure fan zone with a giant screen was set up at the Marche Forville by the Cannes City Hall for the semi-final, and will once again welcome supporters of les bleus this Sunday. Some 1,500 fans turned up for the semi-final in an atmosphere described as “festive and family-friendly”.

Lille

Supporters who acted quickly will have booked their tickets to see the match screened live at the Zenith venue. Tickets quickly ran sold out but under pressure from the public, authorities in Lille have now agreed to put up a giant 30 square metre screen at the Saint-Sauveur train station. 

“This will allow many more visitors to watch the match in the open air from the café terrace and the forecourt. As a result, the city will strongly strengthen the security system at the entrance to Saint-Sauveur Station,” said a statement from Lille City Hall.

Lyon

If you are in Lyon on Sunday afternoon hoping to watch the final then head to Place Bellecour where a giant screen will broadcast all the action, despite the City Hall previously having ruled out screening the match.

Up to 20,000 people are expected to watch the match in the heart of France's second city. The game will also be broadcast on big screens at Lyon's Groupama stadium.

Marseille

In a press release sent out on Wednesday evening, the mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin announced the opening of a fan zone at the Parc Chanot where the World Cup final will be broadcast on a giant screen. Some 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Montpellier

The City of Montpellier is setting up a giant screen in the Place Georges Frêche in front of the town hall.

Nantes

The locals in Nantes are not happy about the fact the game won't be shown on a big screen in the centre of the city. The match will however be broadcast to thousands of fans at the hall XXL at the Parc des expositions de la Beaujoire, which is out of town.

Paris

While you may prefer one of the city's bars or pubs, the place to be on Sunday will be the Champs de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The site provides the most dramatic backdrop for what is sure to be the most dramatic football match.

Some 90,000 fans of Les Bleus are expected to attend and the place will be bouncing. You will have to get there early though as security will be tight and queues will be long.

“We will stop letting people in when this limit is reached,” Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said, urging fans “to arrive as early as possible, starting at 1:00 pm.

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Strasbourg

In Strasbourg, the final match of the tournament will be broadcast on a giant screen at the Jardin-des-Deux-Rives on Sunday at 5 pm. Access to the park will be regulated.

This was the scene after the semi-final against Belgium, which was also shown live at the Jardin-des-Deux-Rives:

Toulouse

In Toulouse, the match will be broadcast on a giant screen at the Prairie des Filtres, where a screen was first set up for the quarter-final match with Uruguay.

Nice

If you are down on the French Riviera and want to see the action on a big screen, then head to the miroir d'eau de la Promenade du Paillon in Nice where you can watch the final with 12,000 supporters of les bleus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FOOTBALL

France plans to keep growing women’s game after World Cup disappointment

France faces the challenge of continuing to develop women's football after the bitter disappointment of elimination from the World Cup by the United States.

France plans to keep growing women's game after World Cup disappointment
France players after the defeat against USA. Photo: AFP

“Back to Earth” was how sports daily L'Equipe put it after the host nation lost 2-1 to the holders in a quarter-final played out before a feverish crowd in Paris.

L'Equipe talked of “the disappointment of a shattered adventure” because coach Corinne Diacre's team had dreamt of emulating the men, World Cup winners in Russia last year and also winners as hosts in 1998.

The team had been desperate to make it to Lyon, where the semi-finals and final will be played and where seven of those who featured for France on Friday play their club football for Europe's top side.

Instead, France find themselves out of a fifth straight major tournament in the quarter-finals. To rub salt into the wounds, Friday's defeat had the knock-on effect of denying them a place at next year's Olympics.

Diacre had been set the objective of reaching the final, which always looked a daunting challenge once the draw raised the likelihood of an early meeting with the USA.

Amid the dejection on Friday, Diacre stated her wish to continue, and on Saturday French Football Federation (FFF) President Noel Le Graet confirmed she would stay.

“She will be in charge until the end of her contract, if not longer,” Le Graet told AFP.

That means until Euro 2021 in England at least, and the aim in France is to keep developing the women's game to give them a chance of one day going all the way.

The FFF hope the number of registered female players will reach 200,000 next year, an increase of almost 10 percent from present figures, but far from the two million registered male players.

They have also promised to invest 15 million euros into a post-World Cup “legacy” fund.

The interest in the women's game is there, as shown by television audiences during the World Cup, with 11.8 million watching the USA game on terrestrial TV.

However, translating that to an increased following in the women's domestic league will be a bigger challenge.

France games have drawn sell-out crowds at the World Cup, but in general attendances in domestic competition are modest at best, even if almost 26,000 saw powerhouses Lyon beat closest rivals Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year.

“We cannot go from so much enthusiasm now to league matches on poor pitches with only 120 fans,” said Le Graet. “We all need to make an effort and we will.”

Matches are televised, but like elsewhere income remains light years from rights deals in the men's game — a new sponsorship contract for the 12-club top flight with chemicals company Arkema is worth one million euros per season for three years.

Average salaries are reportedly around 3,500 euros per month, although stars like Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard are believed to earn almost 10 times that at Lyon, who have won the Champions League in the last four years. Again, those sums are dwarfed by the wages often on offer to the men.

“We need to keep putting money in, keep professionalising, because other countries are doing it and maybe that's why they are ahead of us,” warned Lyon and France forward Eugenie Le Sommer.

“We have a good league but unfortunately not every team is professional.

“There are countries who are ahead of us and we must catch up. Even Spain are putting lots of money in and we need to make sure we are not left behind.”

READ ALSO: France coach laments 'failure' as hosts knocked out of World Cup

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