Present in small numbers and scattered, the French supporters expect to “take the tide” in the stands of Rotherham in the quarter-finals this Saturday, against a much better organized Dutch wave.
Fortunately, the quarter-final of the Euro between France and the Netherlands this Saturday (9:00 p.m.) in Rotherham will not be played by public acclamation. Indeed, the match of the spans promises to be won in advance for the Dutch, escorted to each match by a joyful cohort of colorful, disguised and sometimes noisy fans, families and many women lugging their flags and their fluorescent jerseys from the “Oranjeleeuwinnen» («the Oranje Lionesses», nickname of the team). The pictures of “fan walks“, these festive pre-match parades have gone viral and the Dutch federation (KNVB) does not hesitate to relay them, surfing on the popular momentum triggered during the coronation at the Women’s Euro 2017 organized in the Netherlands. , and extended during the 2019 World Cup in France.
The reigning European champions can count on their fans outside, and even from a distance: a campsite located at the KNVB Campus, the headquarters of the Dutch Federation in Zeist in the province of Utrecht, has been set up to allow fans to watch matches together. In England, there were 2,800 supporters at the stadium against Sweden, 1,300 against Portugal and 2,100 against Switzerland, according to figures provided to AFP by the federation. By way of comparison, only 470 French people were expected when they entered the fray against Italy. Saturday, “we’re going to catch the tidelaughs a French supporter met in Sheffield, who attended the first two matches of the Blue. For this thirty-year-old living in Seine-Saint-Denis and who wishes to remain anonymous for professional reasons, “there was already not much atmosphere, but there it will be a hostile atmosphere“, he warns.
Iceland had already given an overview
The lack of enthusiasm around Les Bleues abroad was already noticeable in 2017, he said, recalling the trip made for the opening match against Iceland: “We go out into town in Tilburg to walk around and we see 3,000 Icelanders. There we said to ourselves: There is a big abyss. Today is worse“. Last Monday, bis repetita with Iceland-France, again, in Rotherham: led by his group of supporters Tolfan (“the twelfth man“), the Icelandic public sang, banged on drums and pushed their team, jerseys of the selection on the back, after a Marseillaise very little taken up in the stands. “Iceland is impressive, they arrive in groups, like a human tide. We love the atmosphere“, told AFP Audrey Besombes, a supporter who came with her family from the Tarn department. In the previous game against Belgium,we felt that there were many more French people in town“, she noted, without worrying about a possible imbalance against the Netherlands: “We especially hope that it will pass“For the Blue on the road to the semi-finals, slipped this supporter, who came to England with sister, nephew, niece and a friend. Captain Wendie Renard also appreciated “the beautiful Icelandic public, it’s magnificent, it’s beautiful“.
We will also have supporters and we will also hear them, it will be a good match and with a good atmosphere I hope.
And the experienced defender is also preparing to be down on Saturday: “But it doesn’t matter, we like it when the fans are against us. We will have to bend our backs and be strong collectively to pass. We will also have supporters and we will also hear them, it will be a good match and with a good atmosphere I hope“, did she say. Young striker Melvine Malard wanted to put things into perspective. “In the stadiums, we are not alone, we also have supporters of the France team who follow us. We see them and it motivates us“, she declared Wednesday in front of the press. The scorer against Iceland takes the example of the Champions League final, won at the end of May with OL in a stadium mostly acquired by Barça. “It also shows this motivation, this desire, this determination to bring the Cup home“.