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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Allez Les Bleus - for the draw

Let's talk football for a moment.

As you might know France took on Spain in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday evening.

Much of the talk here before the match was characterised by speculating on the chances of Les Bleus beating the reigning World and double European champions.

After all in their previous match last Friday, France had convincingly beaten Georgia 3-1 while Spain had dropped a point in a 1-1 draw at home to Finland.

Oh yes and let's not forget that when France and Spain met in October 2012, the game finished in a 1-1 draw.

Reason to be optimistic then and everyone in France was hopeful of a win.

All that is apart from one notable exception - the country's "normal" president François Hollande.

The man his staff at the Elysée palace apparently refer to "affectionately" as "pépère" was in suitably fine laid-back form as he appeared at a press conference alongside Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy on the same day as the match.

Mariano Rajoy and François Hollande (screenshot i>Télé)

The two men had been discussing pressing matters such as the economic crisis and the rise in unemployment throughout Europe and of course took questions on those and other subjects.

But towards the end there was also a lighter moment when they were asked for their predictions for the evening's encounter on the pitch - after all they would be attending the game together.

And Hollande, appearing fittingly small fry with Rajoy towering next to him, gave perhaps the most telling of responses as he said, "For lots of reasons the best result for France would be a draw."

"Non mais allo quoi," to quote TV reality star Nabilla's popular catchphrase.

This was the French president speaking wasn't it?

Isn't it kinda, like, all right for a country's leader to show a little more support and enthusiasm for a national side in any sport?

Rajoy had no such problems as he answered the same question.

"If you don't mind, I don't agree," he said.

"I think the best result would be a win for Spain."

Ah well, "pépère" is only living up to his reputation of not wanting to offend anyone isn't he?

It bodes well for his planned live interview with TV news anchor David Pujadas on France 2 on Thursday evening.

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