WebSports: Ready, Set -
Les Bleues WIN!

photo: at cafe, france wins
France is overjoyed by well-earned victory. Brazil is not.

Final Score and Links to Fútbol Mundial '98:

Paris:- Sunday, 12. July 1998:- Just for openers, around noon a big, warm wind blows away the overcast and boosts temperatures above 20 degrees for the first time in over ten days.

Noon TV-news shows wildly-decorated Brazilians staking out choice spots on the Champs-Elysées - after announcing that the avenue will be partyville and covered by live TV all night long. Out at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, kids have already started their party.

Just before the game at 21:00, the evening TV-news shows signs of a massively-attended PRE-game party, which seems to have engulfed all of Paris.

Thousands line the route of the bus carrying the French team, and police have to clear the way, partly on foot, for the 50 kilometre trip tophoto: cafe special window sign the stadium. Thousands are on the Champs-Elysées; thousands are exchanging Brazilian and French team-shirts. Same thing outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

This café is never open on Sunday. Yeterday it was.

TV-news shows 300 Yves Saint- Laurent models parading around the stadium on a 'sky' dropped on the grass for the occasion. It is all berserk. Total madness.

The Game

The last World Cup game of the century starts a bit after 21:00. Everybody in France stops what they are doing to watch it. Some people outside France, blessed with TV sets, watch it too. Especially if they live in Brazil.

It is raining on the beach there, while the game weather in Paris is perfect. This causes a French player to accidently score a goal with his head off a tricky corner shot. The same thing happens a little while later, off the head of the same player. 80,000 SportsFans in the Stade de France think this is okay - most of them.

In the middle of the game, there are halftime commercials. Everybody, inside and outside the stadium, takes a hygienic break and refills their glasses.

Sometime in the second half of the game, a star French player gets a red card, which dismisses him from the game.. This is bad news, because he is the one player who can stop the star Brazilian player from scoring.

About five minutes before the official time runs out, your star reporter goes to the village café to see howphoto: tf1-tv: chirac, platini, french players French SportsFans are taking the tension. They are audible from about 700 metres away. No one else is on the streets.

Five, ten, and fifteen minutes after the game was over, President Chirac was still clapping as was everybody else in France. Photo: TF1 TV.

At the café, everybody is standing up. Just before the game's final whistle, the big, new TV conks out. The little backup TV fills in. Somewhere here, the French team scores again, just as the big, new TV returns to its function mode. It is about 23:00.

The final score is three for France and nothing for Brazil. France goes crackers.

President Chirac gives every player a medal, shakes their hands and kisses them on both cheeks. They are all dirty and smelly and they don't kiss him back. But everybody generally kisses everybody else. There is a lot of hoopla.

The Post-Game Party

This fête is somewhat spontaneous because nobody in France except the French team's trainer believed the home team would win.

All TV stations go into Sports-Overdrive, with a non-stop watch on the President - he hangs around the stadium shaking hands - and the HQ of the players, and the beach scene in Rio where it is raining harder, and on the Champs-Elysées.

Ah, on the Champs-Elysées, something is happening and it is being done by - TV-estimate - 1.5 million crazed SportsFans! TV anchorpeople talk to anybody who will come to their studio and they talk to their foreign correspondents in Marseille and Bordeaux, Lyon and Lille.

These foreign correspondents are unable to answer questions because they can't hear anything on account of the noise where they are. The young lady in Marseillephoto: french supporter in cafe is nearly incoherent and doesn't seem all that interested in questions from Paris. Bordeaux has its head in a barrel.

This is what the party looked like before the game even started. Note the air-horn.

Meanwhile, on the Champs-Elysées, some nut drives into the crowd about 03:15 and knocks down about 50 people. The security forces put plan 'Rouge' into action, and pretty soon there are 150 ambulances on the scene. A security spokesman says it was a good thing the car wasn't going fast.

After showing clips from all the World Cup games, TV replays last night's game, starting around 04:45. Tomorrow, er, today is not a holiday, so there are doubtless some SportsFans who have risen early to see the game again.

If you ask me, I don't think it is quite so exciting when I know what the final score will be. But then I'm not a hardcore SportsFan. That's it; the World Cup it over.

Next week I plan to resume Metropole's regular program. However, I do not expect France to be quite the same, so stay tuned for program changes.

Even After the World Cup '98, The SportsBar! Will Live Forever

While the world's luckier FootFans are in person and in color in Paris these days, the real hardcore sports fans at all the world's SportsBars, known collectively as the Football Café are in SportsFans' heaven - for the World Cup's final match turns the world into Joyville.

This 'Football Café' Web site is the great-grandgeezer of them all: more than 10,000 pages! Nothing but sports, sports and more sports.

What would sports be without fans? What would clapping with only one hand be like? What would sports be without winners? What would the world be like without sports?

In honor of this historic World Cup, the last of this millennium, France has risen out of its long lethargy - without warning! - and taken to the streets in an outpouring of enthusiasm not believed possible, hardly anticipated and stunningly spontaneous.

All of a sudden, the future seems to be a possible and worthwhile achievement. People are already talking about the next party - for the arrival of the millennium itself - after being largely indifferent to it.

Win or lose today, France is ready to boogie. Since it is a 'win' situation we have unexpectedly on our hands, France is definitely into samba-boogie. Watch for this craze to spread to your home town.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and which will be choosing a new leader any minute now - and of course, the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like RATP does not sound like métro to me. However radio France-Info said last week that one of these Web sites got over a 'billion hits' and they were feeling pretty good about it.

Unique World Cup News - From Issy!

The Paris suburb, next to Paris-Expo, of Issy-les-Moulineaux has had 11 youngsters, aged between 17 and 25, in training for six months, to be 'cyber-reporters.' With a little help from Issy and France Télécom, they have formed a 'Cyber Team' of Web reporters to 'cover' the World Cup '98.

Their reports from Issy are to appear on a city-sponsored Web site, starting Wednesday, 10. June.

What's Issy got that's worth covering? Well, there's the WC'98 International Press Centre at Paris-Expo, the Eurosport TV headquarters, the editorial offices of 'L'Equipe' - the daily sports paper - and TVRS 98, the outfit that will be sending out all worldwide TV coverage.

Libération - Mondial 98 - follow this link for constant updates and fair commentary. For example, there is a site called 'Stade de France,' which Libération says is a 'heavy loader.' Extensive links also point to African sites and even to a religious site, for those whose team is in trouble.

Of the two state-TV channels, France 3 has traditionally handled the bigger Sports Events - with extensive reports on the Paris-Dakar and the Tour de France. Now they take on the World Cup, playing in France for the first time since 1938. For daily reports, tune your Web dial to France 3 TV.

Fútbol Mundial '98 Links: Parlez-vous Foot?
  • In case you have been getting your football news from French sources, the Délégation Générale à la Langue Française has prepared a French/English dictionary of football terms to help you out. Learn French derivatives such as 'footez' and 'footix,' and I suppose I could look at it too to learn the origin of the word 'soccer.'

The Anti-Football Site Is Demodé This Week

Not Yellow Card, But Cartoon:
  • Scorbut is for those for whom 1998 'c'est déjà demi-footue,' and offers cartoons by Cabu, Kerleroux, Wozniak, Luz et Charb - all of whom are well-known lefties and dangerous guys with pencils. Like all of us raving red, commie, cartoonists.
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