Being, to be honest, a bit more of a club than country kind of a TLF, attendance at Ingurland matches has been limited to a handful of friendlies. Jeudi therefore offered up another first, the chance to watch England against Pays de Galles with points (et les locale rights de bragging) at stake.
As many of you will connais, due to Lens being tiny (population of the actual town being about the same size as the capacity of le stade), most of us (and here ‘us’ = Ingurland and Wales cos that is the kind of day it was – L’Equipe I am pretty sure from my ancient O level French seems quite impressed by how the two sets of fans got on) needed to get a train from Lille a Lens. The French word for queue, is ‘queue’. Such a bizarre concept they couldn’t even be ar*ed to rename it. Well I don’t think they have ever seen a queue like it in Lille station. By the looks of it a ‘Made in Britain’ queue, self-organised, fairly well self-policed, snaking around the station forecourt in a massive U shape.
TLF is next through the gate to the quai. Only to be told very nicely by the gun toting gendarme and the cheery railway employee that the train est complet. As in full not just built – keep up troops.
Quelle domage! Mais the footballing Gods, whose powers clearly extend past our sceptred Isle travilled their magic and they let another 10 people on. I think a few SNCF staff should come on an exchange and commute between St Albans and London so TLF can show them a new definition of full.
Lens was not dry. In fact I would go as far to say it was sopping wet. In a booze way that is; il fait beau in all other regards with a loud but not lairy bunch of football fans. TLF was slightly mal a l’estomach but a medicinal burrito and few beers with Malcolm and Louis restored TLF to match-fitness.
Good job as I had to be on my toes with the security lady. My glasses case caused the same consternation as at White Hart Lane but at least the suspicion squishy lump on one trouser pocket caused some light amusement as I revealed the very dangerous lucky bear. The height of tension was reached though when she questioned the slogan on my sweatshirt. She was desperately searching for a superior to refer it to and I was desperately trying to hold onto it. It hadn’t occurred to me that a picture of Don Ranieri with the immortal lines, “We are in Champions League man. dilly ding, dilly dong” might contravene UEFA’s respect rules (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one). In desperation I explained it was Italian, which got me through. Good job as I was going where the sweatshirt went.
Le jeu? Most of you saw it or have read about it, in a newspaper where you don’t have to consult the dictionary ever cinq words. It wasn’t a classic and thank goodness the Vulcan mind-control tricks of every single England fan in the stadium got through to Roy Hodgson on the substitute front.
Not a classic game but a classic ending, que les inevitable celebrations dans le stade. TLF’s record is 100% for competitive Ingurland games! And L’Equipe is mentioning Leicester during a major championship and at the risk of spell checker having a nervous breakdown:
Anglais reprenant sans Sterling ni Kane, remplaces par Sturridge et Vardy. Et puisque hier tout semblait renvoyer a la Premier League, l’egalisation ne pouvait venir que du buteur de l’equipe championne en titre (Leicester) qui evolualt encore en Cinquieme Division en 2012, et qui avait envisage d’arreter le football un an plus tard tellement il se trouvait mauvals: Jamie Vardy.
After that temps pour encore les beers, more queuing and a cracking meal with TLF braving the local delicacy Potjevleesch (vegetarians need not apply).
Of course it wasn’t all about Ingurland and am delighted to read ce matin of Northern Ireland’s victory over Ukraine, who have as a paper puts it, been ‘prend la porte.’ I’m also trying to work out how cross Paul Pogba is and how cross his nation is with him, I might ask the receptionist to translate….also keen to know what ‘Lewandowski toujours fanny’ means…….
Hoping for a bit of fan park time today, and that big screen had better do justice to the lovely Antonio Conte and also a mooch around the streets of Lille, even though il pleut quite a lot. Have had a great time with the Ingurland fans but would be nice to not hear the streets of this pretty city reverberating to chants of “Please don’t send me home. I just don’t want to go to work. I want to stay here and drink all your beer. Please don’t send me home.”
I know; poetry dans la motion n’est ce pas?
Then it will be home time. Hopefully in time to watch Ireland play Belgium, and my boys Iceland hopefully spank Hongrie. As from Dimanche things start to become clear as the final group games begin and the last seize starts to take shape.
Italy v Sweden 2pm
Czech Republic v Croatia 5pm
Spain v Turkey 8pm
Et le weekend…….
Belgium v Republic of Ireland 2pm
Iceland v Hungary 5pm
Portugal v Austria 8pm
Et maintenant nous move to the last group games so all games in the same group kick off at the same time. FACT.
Romania v Albania 8pm
Switzerland v France 8pm
England 2 Wales 1
Ukraine 0 Northern Ireland 2
Germany 0 Poland 0
Manger ou Boire?
Something for the weekend? Well actually next week probably as this Swedish tipple needs 2 or 3 days to really properly infuse.
Le website au jour
Now I am sucker for a good dance tune and a football montage but I really cannot feel the love for the tournament’s official anthem.
Cultural (BoomBoom!) Fox