A while back there was a rash of articles about how sour the national mood in France had become. An alarming high number of people felt that something was amiss in their country; I think Chretien even made some comments about it. France had failed to prevent the Iraq War and felt its international influence was slipping; even within Europe its influence was being diluted by the admission of the former Communist nations – many of whose citizens, incidentally, preferred to speak English rather than French. The EU constitution had failed. There were riots in the streets with hundreds of cars being burnt every night. After working so hard to woo the IOC, the summer Olympics were unexpectedly granted to a seemingly indifferent London.
So I’m wondering what the national mood is now in France, and how big a blow losing the World Cup will be to the national psyche? Of course, coming in second is no mean feat – it still means that at this particular moment you’re better than every other country in the world but one. Still, it’s a particularly bitter kind of defeat.
So, anyone out there able to fill me in? I should mention that I’m not indulging here in any schadenfreude over France’s loss (as opposed to the radio DJs I heard this morning on my drive to work…); France is a great country that has achieved a lot and has every right to be proud of its accomplishments. So…anyone?