How will losing the World Cup affect France's psyche?

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?

They’ll get over it.

There are a lot of countries that are a lot worse off than France that didn’t win the World Cup.

I think people sometimes make too much of the importance of sports in the aftermath of a crisis.

After 9/11, the media played up the importance of the Yankees in helping restore morale in New York. But the Yankees lost the World Series that October, and guess what? Somehow, New Yorkers survived and went on. Would a World Series win for the Yankees have been nice? Sure, but it wouldn’t have brought back any of the dead, and New Yorkers had a sense of perspective. It was just a game, after all, and no matter how the World Series ended, nothing would really have changed in New York.

So, would a victory by a French team with a large number of Arabs and Africans have had some symbolic healing value for France? Maybe- but soccer is still just a game, and even if the French had won, their problems would be no closer to solved.

Parisians are as disappointed as New Yorkers were, but they’ll get over it soon, if they haven’t already.

Yeah, I get it’s just a game, and as an isolated event it means next to nothing. But in light of all the negative reports coming out of France not too long ago, it seemed like just one more thing.

Anyways, has the overall mood improved much over recent months? Or was all the pessimism and malaise just media hype to begin with?

I was in Paris a week ago. They don’t seem to have sour mood there at all so I don’t think it would bother them.

By European standards, the French are not particularly soccer mad. They’ll all be watching the Tour de France. And as people have said, it’s only a sporting contest, one in which they were not expected to get to the final anyway. I very much doubt it will have any effect on the national mood, which is probably perfectly fine. I’m sure the average French person just wants to get on with their life and is not too concerned about riots in some outer Paris suburb, or France’s diplomatic standing or whatever.