Posted in Les Bleus! The Path

Treize: The Irish luck runs out

“Mr. da Díxon, what do you make of the Irish fans in France?”

Marcus stopped sipping from the glass of water. “They seem to be nice blokes, but their happy drunken singing stops here. I don’t think I can take any more of standing up or sitting down for the French police.”

“So you’re not a fan of the Irish fans?”

“Can we talk about the game at hand?”

Hugo Lloris took most of the questions that Coach permitted. He talked of the brilliant atmosphere that the Irish brought to France, but “I hope for a French win tomorrow,” and “we have to continue to work hard,”

“Do you think the Irish are gunning for revenge?”

Marcus’s blue eyes fiercely landed on the journalist. “I don’t know about the Irish gunning for revenge, but I do know that they’re going to go all out. In case you haven’t noticed, Thierry Henry is not a player on this present team. My team is full of honest players and they’re going out there to do their best tomorrow.” He raised to his full height, his captain following. “The nerve of you to accuse my players of cheating!” he walked out another conference leaving journalists frustrated yet again for asking the wrong question.


France v Republic of Ireland

Date: 26 June 2016

Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon

The French coach sported a fashionable blue scarf which was elegantly wrapped over a tight-fitted shirt and well-tailored pants, much to the delight of the fashion crazed fans – notably the females – present at the Parc Olympique this afternoon. His twin attired in a navy blue turtleneck sweater and grey pants.

The identical duo was ready for action.

“The twins are it again with their fashion choices!” crowed the stadium commentator. “But can their fashion choices save tonight?”

Marcus took a seat in the dug-out beside his twin but was soon on his feet when less than a minute in, the referee whistled for an Irish penalty courtesy Pogba. This infuriated Marcus to the core and he stomped his left foot on the ground when the Irish converted for a one-nil lead giving their fans something to believe in. In fact, when the Irish started singing ‘We’re going to beat the French,’ Marcus wanted to strangle every single one of them.

“ALLEZ!” he shouted when Payet prepared to take the 3rd corner. “How many corners do you need to get it right? How many?” when Giroud started arguing with the Italian referee, Marcus shouted at him, “Giroud, if you get yellow-carded in this game, I’m leaving you out of the squad for the rest of the tournament!”

Twenty minutes went by with the Irish defending their one-nil lead against the French. When Marcus had enough, he walked over to the dugout, grabbed his Les Bleus discarded sweater and beat it against the bench in a rage causing an uproar from the stadium. Ray quickly jumped up, placed his hand on Marcus’s back and whispered something inaudible to which Marcus replied, “They’re falling down like a sack of Irish potatoes. We did not come here for this kind of game.”

Over on ESPN, the studio commentators showed footage of Marcus beating on the dugout bench. “I wouldn’t want to be team France in the locker room at half-time.”

At half-time, the team had to face a steaming coach, who was squeezing the electronic life out of a brand new Samsung tablet. Hugo Lloris, Patrice Evra, and Ray had their motivational talks encouraging the team to go out in the second half and fight back because it was far from over but Marcus took a different approach.

“The Irish had their so-call little revenge. Playtime is over. Go out there and show them that this is not the team that Thierry Henry was on. This team is full of honest winners. Go back out there and tear their hides apart!”

Pogba and Griezmann made light of the situation by standing and saluting their head coach. “Sir, yes sir!”

Marcus dismissed them with a flick of his wrist.

When France came out in the second half, their fans were in awe of their different attitude in approaching the game. They looked hungry and ready to do whatever it took to win and move on to the next round. They didn’t have to wait long when Sagna crossed from the right and Griezmann made no mistake planting a firm header at the back of a stunned Rudolph’s net sending the French fans wild. Marcus clapped his hands as the boys celebrated the equalizer, urging them to “Come on! Come on! We still have work to do.” Three minutes later, Olivier Giroud draws two defenders away from the action, then heads a perfect ball into the path of an onrushing Griezmann, who fired home to give France a 2-1 lead.

“YES!” Marcus shouted. “YES! YES! YES!” he pumped his fist in the air loving that his boys were now playing with pure confidence. A few minutes later, Griezmann was at it again. He was through on goal when Duffy managed to illegally stop him, the Irish man earning a red card for his effort in the process. Coman crossed a sweet pass into the area, but not one of his teammates was in the area to get on the end of it and it angered Marcus. “SOMEONE SHOULD’VE BEEN ON THE END OF THAT!” he shouted. A few of the players threw grins his way. Coach could be a warrior at times. They had this.

After the 2-1 victory, the joint coach was asked a few questions.

“Prior to the match, did you feel that the Irish were gunning for revenge?”

Ray gives a Gallic shrug. “I don’t think so, but in 2009, we played like feet. When Thierry scored with his hand I was disappointed for the Irish. However, I am happy that tonight this team fought hard to turn the game around and win it.”

“Will you miss the Irish fans?”

“Yes,” Ray chuckled. “But we’re already looking forward to the next match.”

“Are you set for a final?”

“I most definitely hope so, but we’re taking it one match at a time. I think the boys can write a few more pages in the history book. That’s what it’s about. Writing, not recreating history.”

The French journalist smiled. “Always a pleasure, Monsieur da Díxon. All the bets for the rest of the tournament.”




^ The Irish fans were some of the best behaved at the Euro tournament this year. They were also the most beloved.

^ Dimitri Payet has been making waves at the tournament. When no one believed in Payet, I did. When everyone chose the likes of Griezmann and Pogba to shine at the tournament, I stuck with Payet as our playmaker.

^ feet is a French expression for rubbish




My heart simply beats football.

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