Posted in Les Bleus, Reports

Les Bleus in 2016

I haven’t been updating My Heart Beats Football as I should, but it doesn’t mean that I am not following the beautiful game.

Every Les Bleus game this year was a joy to watch even their last game of 2016 against Côte d’Ivoire last evening, despite it being scoreless at the full-time whistle. Les Bleus have matured and flourished under Didier Deschamps and I enjoy watching them grow. Many critics and skeptics alike thought that without the likes of Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena, the team would’ve been a failure. To tell the honest truth, I was not scared over losing them. We had the likes of Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann to cover us. We made it to the Euro 2016 final and although we didn’t win, we got back up again.

Payet finally emerged and took centerstage. N’Golo had the world smacking their lips at his skills and Pogba shone on the world stage. Adil Rami came back. Areola is finally being noticed. As for the wonderful Hugo Lloris, well, as a captain, he did everything right and as a goalie, he has excelled where past French goalies hadn’t. I am proud of the entire team.

STATS 2016

^ Les Bleus played 17 games, won 13, and had only one defeat which was to Portugal in the final of the Euro 2016.

^ Dimitri Payet racked up the assists with 7

^ Our top scorers are Griezmann and Giroud with 8 goals a’ piece.

This is progress and I am proud to say that we’re going forward. I cannot complain about our campaign this year. Thank you for a beautiful 2016, Les Bleus and here’s to 2017. 

Posted in Les Bleus

WCQ: Paul Pogba scores stunner silencing critics

Pogba and that 30-yard rocket!

Paul Pogba scored the only goal in the Netherlands v France World Cup qualifier earlier this evening in the 30th minute. Hugo Lloris also came up HUGE in the 89th minute with a BIG save to keep a clean sheet and to save the team’s hide. Les Bleus is now on top of Group A with 7 points.

I won’t be writing a long report tonight because I need to rest, but I am delighted with my boys for making my evening. 

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

Posted in FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona: Operation number 22

Image result for 22

FC Barcelona certainly has been busy bodies in this summer transfer window. They’re keen on strengthening the squad and keen on winning titles and so far, I like what I’ve been seeing. 

#TheFrenchAreComing

I’ve been using this hashtag as a joke over the past few years, but now, the French are really here and I now take the hashtag seriously. I mean, we have Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne and this pleases me to the max. We now have a total of three awesome French players (Mathieu being the 3rd)! This kind of reminded me of something I wrote in my football fan fic not too long ago:

It’s a new era and the French are taking over everything.

When Digne was presented, he was 22. He recently turned 23 two days ago. Umtiti is 22 and will turn 23 in November.

Another Frenchman who was on the Catalan team radar: Monsieur Kevin Gameiro, but that may not be happening as Sevilla wants to renew his contract. By the way, Gameiro is 29. But, there is another Frenchman the Catalan giants might just be interested in: Alexandre Lacazette. He is 25 but is most likely heading for the PL. Paul Pogba was also on the radar.

But that would be the least of our worries given that we have Denis Suárez (also 22) back with us from his loan spell at Villarreal after the club activated his buy-back clause. He brings versatility although he prefers to play on the left side. And we also snatched young André Gomes.

#BodysnatchingFCB

Image via Twitter 

Yes, another 22-year-old. I am still trying to understand why we snatched this Portuguese away from Real Madrid’s grip because quite frankly, this signing doesn’t make any sense. He might eventually go out on loan, but I hope the club can prove me wrong. I really didn’t see this hijack coming, but I believe that young Gomes has potential and I hope Coach would be able to tap into it. I’ll be rallying for him this season. Allez Gomes!

Other than this, I am delighted with our signings this summer. 

Posted in Les Bleus! The Path

Seize: We are united!

This is it.

After two years of preparing, after Deschamps walked out, after a new crazy head coach took over, the moment France was waiting for have finally arrived: the last game of the Euro 2016 tournament. Play time was over. Tonight, it was do or die. Nerves had to take a back burner. Passion, spirit, and heart will take first place. Determination and strength will prevail. This was not a battle for the weak hearted.

Coach had yet to smile wholeheartedly, but he cracked jokes occasionally, took up for his boys when everyone else was dragging them down, and although he shouted at them during training or matches, he had wormed his way into their hearts unintentionally. He was going to be missed.

Joint coach was the total opposite. Ray was open, honest, funny, and a lover. The boys had immediately gravitated towards him from day one and by the second day, everyone had his personal cell number.

Tonight, the boys were not only going into battle for France, but for their managers. They wanted to write their own story in the history book and create everlasting memories.

Griezmann rolled up his socks and took one last sip of mate. Giroud pulled his jersey on. Pogba double-checked his shin pads. Koscielny quietly drummed his fingers on his thigh. Kanté picked imaginary fluff off his jersey sleeve. Evra quietly meditated. Lloris sat calmly observing his team with a watery smile. There were no finer men he’d rather go into battle with for the last time this summer.

“Gentlemen,” Marcus greeted the team probably for the last time as he walked in with the twin. “Are we ready to go out there and give it the best shot?”

“And he still doesn’t smile!” Giroud teased.

“Oh, he’ll smile tonight,” Ray assured him.

“It’s been a blast working with you guys in the last few months. We’ve been through many things together, but tonight, tonight is where it begins, not end. Tonight, we’re going to go out there, fearless, ready to fight for what are rightfully ours and France’s.” Marcus looked at every individual as he gave the pre-game speech for probably the last time. “Tonight, we’re going to give the French people something to treasure in years to come. We’re going to make them smile. We’re going to prove everyone wrong. Our fans are our driving force and we’re going to do this for them.

“We owe it to them. So let’s do this, and make Euro 2016 ours to remember. Who are we?

“LES BLEUS!”

“And whose house is this?”

“OURS

“Allons-y!”

GAME DAY

Portugal v France

Date: 10 July 2016

Venue: Stade de France, Paris

2-2

In the 86th minute of the final Euro showdown, the score was 2-2. Time was ticking by, but Marcus was calmer than the entire Stade de France. He stood by the sideline looking on at the game as fans stared nervously at him expecting to find the answer hidden somewhere in his smart, dark YSL suit. Ray had his fingers crossed tightly, willing that the boys quickly find a goal to avoid extra-time. Tired legs could lose an important game especially when all the substitutions were already made.

The entire Stade de France was quiet. Everyone was afraid to breathe. Portugal was awarded a free kick and Marcus clenches his fist, his jaw tightening. If Portugal manages to score and win the … Hugo Lloris caught the header and yelled at his mates as they launched a counter-attack.

The fans looked at the clock.

89th minute.

Martial raced into the opposition’s half dancing with the ball. He quickly laid it off to Griezmann, who twisted and turned, eventually passing to Matuidi, who launched it at goal, but Rui Patricio made the save giving Portugal a lifeline. Marcus gritted his teeth, Ray slapped his thigh and Lloris grunted in disappointment. They now had an additional four minutes to win the game otherwise, Coach will have a reprimanding tirade if they were to play extra-time. Portugal wasn’t letting up so easy, though. They played down the left and made an attempt at the French goal, which Lloris managed to tip over for a corner. The Portuguese corner came to nothing, and Payet led the French attack this time. Down the right-hand side he ran, laying the ball off to Martial, who quickly manages to find Giroud. The forward played a neat one-two with Griezmann, before finding the back of a stunned Patricio’s net.

2-3!

The Stade de France erupted. Ray and the substitutes screamed in joy and hugged each other. Everyone was reacting to Giroud’s sure winner except Marcus, who was waiting for the final whistle to sound. Two minutes later, the Stade de France was alive and buzzing with joy, happiness, and tears. Marcus smiled as he finally soaked in the beautiful atmosphere. They have done it. They have won Euro 2016 and it was going to be the most memorable tournament ever for the delighted French people. Not because of the struggles they had to overcome, but because of the smile on Coach’s face. It was the first time that France have seen him smile and it lit up the entire stadium. Who needed stadium lights when his smile was the biggest prize of the bittersweet victory?

The team mobbed the coach and hoisted him in the air. They yelled in happiness as he threatened to have their hides if they dropped him. A few seconds later, they hoisted a surprised Ray in the air also. France was going to have a memorable summer all thanks to their wonderful team.

 

NOTES:

^ I had written this particular victory ending with Germany in mind before the tournament. It was easy to switch Germany with Portugal for this chapter.

^ Once again, congrats Portugal, and Les Bleus, merci mille fois! This wasn’t your chapter to write this tournament, but it will come.

REMEMBER, THIS IS FICTION & IT IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH LES BLEUS OR THE FFF.

Posted in Beautiful Moments In The Beautiful Game, Euro 2016 France, Les Bleus

HUH! HUH! Les Bleus honor Iceland with their version of the ‘Viking clap’

After France defeated Germany 2-0 last evening in the semis, they celebrated with their fans at the end of the game with the ‘Viking Clap’. Just in case you were living on another planet before this, this intimidating clap/chant stole hearts and terrified some during the start of the tournament. 

This was one of Iceland’s contribution on the big stage although some are debating whether the chant originated from Iceland. 

Terrifyingly Awesome Iceland Chant

Okay, here I’ll attempt to set things straight as a history fanatic. French side Lyon have been doing it for years. Yes, if you were a French football fan, you would’ve known this. I never heard any Icelander came out to publicly claim that they invented this ‘clapping’ thing. They adopted it from the Scottish side, Motherwell. I think the Icelanders got it from one of their Premier League team. 

And here are Lyon supporters with ‘AHOU!’

More French clapping coming up!

However, had Iceland not graced the Euros with their version of the ‘Viking Chant’ then no one would’ve been debating this right now.

Some might call the French pathetic chant stealers, but I look at it as a nice gesture.

A hommage.

The French were honoring Iceland during their celebration. People who passionately spend their days disliking the French (trust me, they exist) are happy they can rip the French about something, but life is too short for all this stupid negativity. The German and French fans were also doing it, but because Les Bleus does it, it’s a crime.

And to the Icelanders who are probably angry that the French ‘stole’ your chant, they did that for you. 

So relax, no one is stealing anything, okay haters. The French have been doing their own kind of clap for years. Iceland is still being talked about in France and the Nordic fans were such an inspiration (as Pogba tweeted) that the French saw no other to celebrate and pay tribute to both their fans (Les Bleus) and Iceland after a hectic Euro. There were no drums and the effect was less intimidating, so it cannot be a complete rip-off. Some so-call football fans need to spend time learning/reading/researching behind the beautiful game and not just watch it for fun.

Look at it this way:

Again, thank you, Iceland. You’ve left an incredible mark on the Euro. 

Germany v France - EURO 2016 - Semi Final