The Blues are heating up / Mondial 2022 / Behind the scenes /

While the French team was doing the job on the pitch against the English, 4,000 French supporters were trying to make themselves heard in the Al-Bayt stadium and, before that, on the streets of Doha. A difficult task for a group still searching for itself.

Max pulled his suitcase and a tricolor hanging around his neck. There, immediately, he found himself in the middle of a procession of a hundred French supporters who had just left Souq Waqif in the direction of Al-Bayt stadium. Within three hours, after a trip by metro and bus, he was in the stands giving voice to the French team. In nine hours he was on a plane to Dubai, regardless of the outcome of the game. “I am an expatriate in the United Arab Emirates, so I can afford the luxury of going back and forth. I could have done a little telecommuting, but the air link was really easy to do. I will definitely come back for the half and the final if there is one. » So for now, Max sings with the others, taking advantage of the echo of the marble walls of the dapper neighborhood of Mshreib to launch “Come on, the Blues, your supporters are here” (lyrics containing one hell of a mistake in French, by the way, editor’s note). Tonight, it is almost cold in Doha, the wind raises doubts about the 20 degrees shown by the thermometer, and warming the streets of Doha as the Argentines, Brazilians or Moroccans can do is not easy.

The procession was led by two members of the Baroudeurs du sport, an association that led the small French delegation present in Doha in the absence of the Irrésistibles Français, the main group of supporters of the French team who decided to spend their time in the controversial This Qatari World Cup, although some members came as independents. Clément makes the troop state. “It’s good that, besides, many of us are sick, I hope we don’t bring a new variant to France.he said between two coughs. Everyone is scattered this week after the eighth, so we have to mobilize those around, and it’s not easy. » Saturday night, 4,000 French are still expected in the bays of the northernmost stadium in the competition. Maxime Guillemet, FFF supporters manager, assures us that this low will be consistent in the quarters and semi-finals: “Generally, people are booking their stay for the group matches and an eighth and can put an option on the final if the Blues are there. It’s difficult because we’re out of the school holidays and the prices aren’t like, for example, in Russia. Making the whole month is a small budget. » Stéphane, he paid 10,000 euros to leave with his wife and two daughters for more than two weeks. “This is our holiday of the yeartrumpeted the fifty-one from Mâcon, hat with bells on his head. The organization is great, and despite the restrictions, we are able to make the most of it. » The restrictions that some are not deprived of dribbling, sending themselves in the afternoon fifty pints for an Irish pub located at the height of a building, before joining the rest of the peloton.

“I left aside the questions about the boycott, because it should have been ten years ago. On the other hand, I avoid telling people around me that I came to Qatar, because there are people who might get me drunk without knowing about it. » John

Be alone with people around

The blue train reaches and rushes to the metro station. In front of his sunglasses, there was Toto and his false statement of Francis Lalanne answering the questions of a Qatari media. Behind, there is Meinuki, a Japanese woman living in the United States who fell in love with Kylian Mbappé and therefore by extension of these Blues he drew on a manga-style sheet. In the middle, there are Zacharie, Ruben and Yohan, three friends who left their revisions of partials or their first week of training in Paris to live five days of kif and two quarter-finals, invoiced for a total of 2000 euros per head. “For us, it’s the first time and we immediately got into the moodenthuses the latter. We sleep on one of the cruise ships in Doha Bay and are surrounded by supporters from all over. We are far from the ambient discourse we heard at home on the boycott. Me, I preferred to leave these questions aside, because we should have asked them ten years ago, and come. On the other hand, I avoid saying it around me, because there are people in my class especially, who might drink with me without knowing about it. » It’s rare to find anything to complain about in Qatar, except for the air conditioner we keep running. not here, “Stadiums are beautiful” , “The museums are amazing” , “no tramps in the streets” and then “Hey, did you see that little grandpa? He is not Qatari, this »

Another two subway stops. Time to expand the repertoire. A Little Santa Mbappé version, Dassin, Piaf, everything goes. We are trying to launch popular “We have one star, we have two stars, we want the third star” who took his share of ridicule and condemnation “not engaging enough” . “You have to hear it in the stadium, it makes you feel better. We tried something, it didn’t last, too bad” , studying Clément, somewhat bitterly. It is then necessary for Joris, 13 years old, to raise himself above the fray with the subway bars and he throws a “To Arms” so that the blue chorus regains consistency.

The little blond has become the mascot of the French kop and does not need to be asked to start the songs. In April, he joined Didier Deschamps at the time of the draw, the organizers noticed his face in the Moscow stands at the time of the Blues’ coronation. From the time he was 18 months old, his father took him with him to follow the World Cups. “These are unique experiences, the opportunity to discover a country, a culture, people from all over the world. This one is a little special because it’s in the winter and focuses on a city, but it’s beautifulexplains Pascal, the father, who works in IT in Paris. At work, they know that every four years they don’t see me for a month. I have watched almost 20 matches here. As long as they give me cake, I eat it. » Al-Bayt now stands in front of them. They will try to be heard in a magnificent stadium, but with the atmosphere of a cathedral inside. The tense match and the raining English did not help to remove the atmosphere, but the main thing was elsewhere: France was in the semi-finals, and Joris still did not experience defeat for the team of France from the stands. While some are reluctant to go back to Souq Wakif or the Alwadi bar to celebrate the victory, while others are already looking for tickets for Wednesday that trade for more than 1000 euros, the student and his father are heading at the airport. “There is school on Mondayhe breathed. I missed a week too, but if everything goes well, I’ll be back for the final. » And maybe in a well-rehearsed song.

By Mathieu Rollinger, in Doha
All comments are collected by MR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *