Come on you Frenchies. Don’t cry. Together with the Three Lions from across the channel, you’ve managed to get rid of a team that is so hard to get rid of – the Germans. Who said the love between England and France was lost forever, after Brexit?
By winning their first group match, the French ensured that the Germans finished second in the group, leading to a match against the English, in the knock-out phase. But the cunning plan needed financing. And where better to look for dodgy dosh than on the banks of Lake Geneva. The Swiss provided the cash in return for a temporary place in the knockout stages. It took some convincing though, because for the Swiss, it’s been so long that they didn’t even know there was a knockout stage. So used to play three games and go home.
As in all thriller movies, it went nearly so wrong. With 10 minutes to go, the Swiss were 3-1 down, thanks to Paul Pogba not listening to his manager and deciding to hit the ball instead of giving it away (he would make amends, later). The Swiss had to resort to using their famous Swiss Army knife to tear the French defense to shreds and score two goals before you had time to shout Emmental cheese.
Plan B, then. It had to be penalty kicks. But contrary to 1982 when the best French player on the pitch missed the penalty and sent the Germans through, the worst player here missed and sent the Germans home in their Volkswagen minibus. What a cool customer Kylian MBappé is. With the whole world on his shoulders and the fate of a German exit at his feet, he duly delivered and saved the French from forcing the English to lose. You see, it’s quite simple and believable. Had France won, the Swiss would have spilled the beans over the whole operation, and the English would have had to let the Germans win. At Wembley, if you may. All in the spirit of fair play, of course.
As it is, though, the French honoured their contract with the English, courtesy of the Swiss, to get rid of the Germans. The French even economised the fare back home, by sharing a plane with the Dutch, who didn’t understand the “foot” part of the word “football”. Although, judging by the remaining flags, blowing in my street, some people here think it’s not over yet for the Dutch. But it is.
And also for the Germans.
All worth it, wasn’t it?