Saturday, June 24, 2006

Togo 0-2 France
Switzerland 2-0 South Korea

With Switzerland and South Korea heading up Group G leading into tonight's action, we headed to Bouchon Bar near Clapham Junction to take in some French angst firsthand. Arriving immediately after the Group H games, we surprisingly found the best seats in the house already occupied ... however our usurpers won our friendship when Cecile (right) painted all our faces with the Tricolor.

Settling into the second best seats in the house (that the helpful barstaff allowed us to reconfigure for optimal football viewing) we enjoyed the buildup to the game of French wine, French cheese, and French "Who wants to be a millionaire". At kick off the bar had filled out nicely, but as the game progressed and France failed to find the net the tension began to mount. Heres a photo of Cecile barely able to bring herself to watch ...

French support was unwavering however (although curiously there seems to an unwritten law that states all chants must be based on the word "Allez!") and eventually they were rewarded with two quickfire second half goals cueing scenes of jubilation.

All in all, it was a successful visit ... the passion of the French fans surprised me, I found myself chanting "Allez Les Bleus!" with the best of them, and I wasn't the only one. Pooch was drumming on the table so much his hands were bleeding by the end of the night - the idiot. Roll on France v Spain.

It was the best atmosphere so far in my opinion. Perhaps because there was so much at stake.

La Marseillaise was sung with gusto by most of the crowd and set the mood for the game: all of the chants were easy to pick up and sung by most.

By the end of the night I had sore hands and a hoarse voice but my love for the French was reconfirmed.
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