PanamaTimes

Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘You can’t begrudge Messi’: Parisians react as France lose World Cup final

‘You can’t begrudge Messi’: Parisians react as France lose World Cup final

Patrons of French capital’s bars go through gamut of emotions as Argentina eventually win out on penalties

It was a rollercoaster. By the end they were standing on the tables outside, roars of “allez les Bleus” and “liberté, égalité, Mbappé” rising hoarsely into the freezing early evening air, hugging each other fiercely, cheering on their heroes.

It was standing room only in Le Napoléon and Le Mondial cafes, facing each other across the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis in Paris’s 10th arrondissement – both rammed to the rafters inside with flag-waving, face-painted, red-white-and-blue bewigged fans.

For 80 long minutes, the mood had swung from anguish to despair to fury. “They’re outplaying us in every area,” said Aurélien, 28, hopping up and down on a chair in Le Napoléon. “They’re just faster, neater. They want it more. It’s all in the aggression.”

France, all in Le Mondial agreed, were playing rubbish. “We’re not in it, not in it at all,” said Marion Dupré, queuing at the bar. “Dreadful. Incredibly disappointing.”

Outside, with 20 minutes to go, Salma and Leila were even ready to go. “It’s way too cold,” said Salma, 19. “And anyway, the match is over. We’ll get sandwiches at the Monoprix and find somewhere a bit quieter for a drink. What a let down.” Just down the street, Le Chateau d’Eau – determinedly not showing the football – began filling up

Then, two-nil down to Argentina 10 minutes before the end of normal time, came a first France penalty, and an immense roar as Kylian Mbappé squeaked it home from the spot. Followed, barely a minute later, by an even louder howl as Bondy’s idol swept home a stinging second.

“Unbelievable!” cried Sylvie, 30, screeching to make herself heard and holding her head in disbelief at the back of the aptly named Mondial. “They’ve woken up. They’ve suddenly started playing. Look at them! Anything’s possible now. It’s going to happen. You wait! Allez les Bleus!”

Extra time, and slowly, surely, a badly rattled Argentina began to pull back. It was Messi, inevitably, who put them ahead. “Noooon,” moaned Philippe Moreau in Le Napoléon, a rare grey-headed figure among an overwhelmingly young crowd. “Mind you, you can’t begrudge him. He is Messi.”


Fans react as they watch the final in a bar in Paris.

Then, truly unbelievably, the equaliser: another Mbappé penalty, and hope sprang once more. “They can do it, they’re going to do it,” whispered Magalie Potet in Le Napoléon, trying to convince herself, half-weeping, the tricolour flag painted on her cheeks smudged from emotion.

And then, a crazy end-to end scramble at the end of extra time, spectacular saves from both keepers, and penalties.

“We’ll crack,” said Mickael, 26, back in Le Mondial, sporting a red, white and blue beanie and his father’s No 10 Zidane shirt, bought after France’s 1998 win against Brazil. “There’s no way this’ll happen. Too many young players. They’ll freeze.”

It was prophetic. Mbappé scored the first, to roars loud enough to make even the few uninterested drinkers in Le Chateau d’Eau look up. Messi made it one all. “Now wait,” said Mickael, not daring to look. “It’s all going to go to shit.”

And it did. There weren’t many tears; there was even acceptance. “Penalties are always a lottery,” said Karim, 40. “We can’t really complain, can we? We fought, came so close, by the end we’d given really everything we had. It so nearly happened. We can be proud, I think. That has to have been one of the best ever finals.”

The Paris Métro’s hopeful gesture – the transport operator RATP temporarily rebaptised Argentine station “France”, attaching “allez les Bleus!” signs along the platform walls, along with the legend: “Argentine-France, Finale de la Coupe du Monde 2022” – was for nothing.


Nearly 3,000 police and gendarmes were out on patrol in the capital, mainly around the Champs-Elysées, along with nearly 12,000 more across the country, as authorities prepared for they knew not what after France’s second successive World Cup final.

The avenue the French call “the most beautiful in the world” was sealed off to traffic at both ends and its shopfronts mostly boarded up, in anticipation of tens of thousands of supporters either celebrating or drowning their sorrows.

An estimated 600,000 people descended on the Champs-Elysées after France’s victory over Croatia in July 2018, and before this year’s final police predicted that even if France lost, up to 300,000 could be expected.

From the atmosphere in Le Napoleon and Le Mondial, it didn’t feel like it would be that many.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
Macron says France will help Brazil develop nuclear-powered submarines
A video demonstrating women's self defense class in 1930
×