France, land of football
The global sport par excellence, football takes the lion’s share of attention in France: it is played in all four corners of the country! We love our club and we wear the national team‘s colours with pride. And at the time of the UEFA EURO 2016™, French football is really booming. Overview:
From Lille to Marseille, from Brittany to the Alps, thousands of people take to the football pitches, fill the stands, and predict the scores of their favourite club. In total, 18,000 amateur clubs and their 2 million members (+6% on 2014), boys and girls alike, make our footballing world go round.
The epic story of Les Bleus in 1998
This event brings together the stars of this sport, stars that embodied the epic story of the national team known as Les Bleus. Already, in 1984 and 2000, France had touched the European Holy Grail and was crowned the best football nation on the continent. But it is another legendary year that really spurs the emotions of the aficionados: 1998.
Remember! On 12th July of that year, at a packed stadium that, to a man, was cheering on Les Bleus, they reached for the stars and became world champions at the expense of Brazil (3-0). Zidane, Barthez, Deschamps... legendary names that will forever be engraved on the hearts of French supporters.
Clubs charged with history.
A French football fan’s daily bread remains the national championship. The elite competition of Ligue 1 (20 clubs) includes a number of mythical clubs, enjoying good seasons or bad seasons, and unleashes the passions of supporters that keep an eye on their club’s progress across the football pitches of France and all of Europe.
We think of the club from the capital, Paris Saint Germain, who has been French champion since 2013 and challenges the greats of European football: FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich or even Real Madrid (Spain) and Juventus of Turin (Italy).
OM vs OL
In the south of the country, Olympique Marseille (OM) refuses to be left behind. It is still the only French club to have engraved its name on the European Champions Cup in 1993.
Olympique Lyonnais (OL) is also worth a mention, having ruled French football without contest throughout the 2000s, winning 7 French championship titles from 2002 to 2008.
And how can you forget A.S Saint-Etienne? A mythical club who paved the way for French clubs in the elite European competition in the 70’s by, unsuccessfully in the end, reaching the final of the European Cup (1976).
10 stadiums... 10 host cities for Euro 2016
In terms of infrastructure, the prospect of organising the UEFA EURO 2016™ has allowed the country to modernise the 10 national sporting centres that were selected to host the competition.
This was the case in Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Marseille, Lens Agglo and Paris, whose facilities were given a new lease of life with, most notably, a significant increase in spectator capacity
Other cities, such as Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice and Lille Métropole, have actually constructed new, state-of-the art footballing arenas.
With regards to the Paris region, in addition to the Parc des Princes it is able to count on the largest venue in the country, the famous Stade de France (81,338 capacity) in Saint-Denis, a reminder of that sacred World Cup win by Les Bleus in 1998.
Eighteen years on, will History with a capital H repeat itself this time on the continental stage?