Football: French and Belgians in place for the 2018 revenge

In football tournaments, this match would be called a consoling one. In other words, a meeting for butter organized so that everyone goes home happy with a lot. This semi-final of the League of Nations between France and Belgium, Thursday, October 7, looks like a stopgap for two major nations of European football, disappointed by their journey during the last Euro. France, the reigning world champion, was taken out of this tournament in the round of 16 by Switzerland. Belgium, third in the 2018 Russian World Cup, only made one more lap, eliminated in the quarter by the future Italian winner.

→ READ. Euro 2021: the Blues fall from the top

Created in 2018 to replace the tunnels of friendly matches without sporting stakes or big interest for televisions and sponsors, this second edition of the League of Nations is the perfect opportunity for Didier Deschamps’ men to redeem themselves. “We must not minimize this competition (…). This will not erase what happened, the Euro is behind us (…) there is a title at stake, we have a semi-final to play against one of the best teams in the world ”, he explained Monday 4 at a press conference.

Worrying performances after the Euro

Since this disastrous last quarter of an hour of the Euro against Switzerland, when the Blues were caught in the score before losing on penalties in overtime, the group had lost ground. The worrying draws against Bosnia and Ukraine in early September in qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup had hit the nail on the head. Fortunately, the Benzema-Griezmann festival, a few days later against Finland (2-0), had put things in place and incidentally, almost qualified the Blues for Qatar. While bringing to light the puzzle of the attack.

Two, without Kylian Mbappé (injured), the Blues had found their way to the goal thanks to an Antoine Griezmann flourished in a role of leader. What will happen to three with Mbappé, against Belgium, in the ineffective configuration of the Euro? If Benzema and Griezmann seem indisputable in the device of the boss of the Blues, he sent the young Parisian a clear message during the show Telefoot, Sunday October 3. “The altruistic and collective Mbappé against Manchester City is the one I want to see”, he asserted. In other words, that his star player finds the spirit that allowed Paris SG to overthrow the champion of England in the Champions League, everything will be fine. If he plays personal and gets annoyed with his teammates like lately in a club, beware …

→ CHRONICLE. Euro 2021, the lost illusions

Station also behind, because the offensive festival against Finland (2-0) should not forget that the French deficiencies during the Euro were initially defensive. Until the Finnish good fortune, the Blues had taken the bad habit for months to concede the first goal of each game. During this last match, the boss had innovated by composing a defense to three, instead of the usual quartet. Which had worked pretty well.

A rivalry that sometimes got out of hand

Crucial for the blue crew of Captain Lloris, this meeting is also important for the Red Devils, who have revenge to take. Number one in the ranking of nations by virtue of great consistency in recent years (France is fourth), the band of Eden Hazard dreamed big until their missed European quarter-final against Italy. And still has not digested the semi-final lost in Russia against France, which had left the Belgians a bitter taste. “We lose against a team that is not better than us”, lamented goalkeeper Thibault Courtois. “I would rather lose with this Belgium than win with this France”, had assured Eden Hazard.

These words had sharpened the traditional rivalry between the two neighbors. If the Belgians have regularly won in recent years in a friendly match, they have lost the major official matches (5-0 at the 1984 euro, and 4-2 in the small final for the 3e place at the 1986 World Cup). “The rivalry has always been there, but it is healthy and sporty, tempers Didier Deschamps, but there is everything that happened outside, in the comments, there must have been excesses on both sides, because we are in the interpretations of hot words which have certainly taken on too much importance. “



Euro 2021: Raheem Sterling’s double revenge

Let’s call it the Sterling Paradox. While the main architect of England’s success since the start of this Euro is undoubtedly Raheem Sterling, the front pages of the British newspapers on Thursday 8 July were mostly devoted to his accomplice in the attack, Harry Kane. “Kane You believe it! “ headlined for example the very popular Daily Mail after the victory, Wednesday, against Denmark, and therefore the qualification of the “three lions” for their first final in a major tournament since their victory in the World Cup in 1966.

The best Englishman of this Euro and the most decisive, Wednesday, in the semi-final was however not the captain and famous player of Tottenham, but indeed Raheem Sterling, the lively winger of Manchester City. After having scored all the goals of the selection during the group stage, it was he who caused the two goals against Denmark: that of the equalizer, by pushing an unfortunate Dane to throw the ball into his own goal, then that of victory by inciting – perhaps wrongly – the referee to whistle a penalty converted by the popular Kane.

→ CONTEXT. Euro 2021 final: what if the Delta variant was one of the winners

The angry tattoo

Have the major English newspapers gone blind? Of course not, but they are not deaf to the negative comments of their readers focused on the native of Kingston (Jamaica) and naturalized English. The press even demanded his exclusion from the team on the eve of the 2018 World Cup. Notably because of a tattoo in the shape of a machine gun inscribed on his calf, which had been interpreted as an apology for the violence coming from a Brent kid. , popular and dangerous area where he grew up after his mother arrived in England.

→ READ. Euro 2021: can sport really be politically “neutral”?

The defense of the interested party arguing on the contrary that this tattoo, of doubtful taste, enabled him to push away the memory of the assassination of his father before his own eyes, had not been heard.

→ EXPLANATION. Euro 2021: why do the English sing “Football’s coming home”?

“When I was two my father was shot dead and I made a promise to myself that I would never touch a gun in my life. I shoot with the right foot, so it has a deeper meaning and the drawing is not finished ”, he had declared.

He had also completed it a few weeks later with another tattoo representing him kissing his baby. Lost, the machine was on. He was then criticized for having bought a house considered flashy to his mother, whom he accompanied as a child to the hotels where she cleaned.

And especially not to score enough in Manchester City, where his coach, the Spaniard Pep Guardiola, confined him for a good part of the season on the substitutes’ bench: this year, he has scored only 10 goals, all of them competitions combined, while he counted 22 during the 2018-2019 season.

“He must always prove to people that they are wrong”

Like Karim Benzema or Neymar, Raheem Sterling always has to show more than others on the pitch for extra-sporting reasons. Just before the Euro, his coach Gareth Southgate, who has never let go despite his empty spell at the club, had noted. “Raheem must always prove to people that they are wrong (on him, Editor’s note) , he said before adding: “He’s been huge for us for three, four years. He knows that we have faith, confidence in him, his performances with us were electric. “

This update aimed at the British media concerns only moderately viewers of this Euro unaware of the domestic concerns of a player, of whom they especially saw the audacity, the technique and the speed (he is almost as fast as Kylian Mbappé). Which could earn him the title of best player of the tournament, if the English win, this Sunday, July 11, in the final against the Italians. Perhaps it will emerge on this occasion the tweet he had published on June 13, just before the Euro: “Never forget where it all started”.


First English final in half a century

♦ Fourth in the world ranking of nations, England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup (beaten by Croatia), as in 1990. But her best result remains the title in the 1966 World Cup, which she won at home, in the old Wembley Stadium.

♦ A failed semi-final for the coach in 1996. England’s last appearance in a one-Euro semi-final had gone badly for current England manager Gareth Southgate. Then player, he had missed a penalty during the penalty shootout which sent Germany to the final.



Revenge of the Nepalese, winners of K2

The news of the winter conquest of K2, the last 8,000 still inviolate in winter, looped all night from Saturday January 16 to Sunday January 17 on Nepalese websites and newspapers. Whether in The Kathmandu Post or The Himalayan Times, the two most important English-speaking media, the satisfaction of seeing the Nepalese outsmart the Westerners who have also embarked on the adventure is real but remains modest.

Revenge of the Nepalese, winners of K2

A very great Spanish mountaineer, Sergi Mingote, died at the same time in another roped party, which imposes a certain reserve. But it did not escape observers that his fatal fall occurred on the descent, the most dangerous exercise in high mountains, especially after the fatigue and intoxication of such a feat. For the Nepalese who know the rules of the Himalayas better than anyone, the triumph will not be complete until the ten men have returned safely to base camp.

“An ascent dedicated to all Nepalese carriers”

Other than that, the ascent of Saturday January 16 will go down in the annals as a huge victory for the Nepalese people, especially for the Sherpa ethnic group living in the foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas, which provided the men and the organization.

→ READ. The Sherpas want to become masters at home again

The ascent was carried out under the aegis of Seven Summits Treks, an agency specializing in supporting western climbers on Everest. It has invested millions to be the first to set foot on the last of the 8000, which is mostly in… Pakistani and Chinese territory.

The intentions of its boss Mingma Sherpa were very clear before the launch in December. “The K2 is the last 8,000 that has not been climbed in winter, so this is an opportunity for the Sherpas to demonstrate their strength, he said. All mountaineers are assisted by Sherpas to make their dreams come true: to reach a summit of 8,000 m. I have helped several foreigners achieve this. And I was a little surprised not to see any Sherpa during the first winter. This ascent is therefore dedicated to the whole community of Nepalese carriers known today thanks to our friends and clients from different foreign countries ”.

The symbol is all the more clear as this triumph follows an alliance between all the best Sherpa mountaineers involved in the four expeditions launched this winter on the K2. The small troop was led by the big Nepalese high altitude star, Nims Dai, who gained world fame in 2019 becoming the first Nepalese to climb the fourteen 8,000 in a single season.

We have decided to make the impossible possible and we are honored to share this moment, not only with the Nepalese climbing community, but with communities around the world. What a journey ! “, Former British Special Forces soldier Nims Dai said from a satellite phone.

No sherpa on the first winter since 1980

Best of all, the fittest waited a long time for the slower to arrive together on the second roof in the world at 8,611m. “It is really a beautiful symbol”, reacts Michel Pellé, French guide and filmmaker who in 2000 dedicated a film called Ghalzen the Mender of Everest the sherpas then confined to the role of installers of ropes and carriers of oxygen bottles.

“After having been in the shadows for a long time, they learned and became big names, unparalleled technicians endowed with an exceptional physique because some spent their childhood at 4000”, he continues.

→ SERIES. Conquering the last 8,000 (1/4). The K2, a giant never conquered in the Himalayan winter

Sixty-seven years after the conquest of Everest by Edmund Hillary who was accompanied by Sherpa Tensing Norgay, the circle has been completed by these ten Nepalese, more numerous on Saturday on a roof of the world than in the entire history of mountaineering himalayan.

Of the first 44 men to have trampled one of the 8,000 in summer, only three were Nepalese. The winter record is even more eloquent. Since Everest’s first winter in 1980, 29 men, mostly Polish, have climbed the 8,000 in the bad season. This list did not include any Nepalese, until Saturday January 17.


With or without oxygen?

The ten Nepalese belonging to the Sherpa ethnic group who climbed the K2 were equipped with oxygen cylinders, a device disputed by most mountaineers… Westerners. According to the so-called Tyrolean declaration, adopted in 2002 in Innsbruck, only the first without the use of fixed ropes and oxygen should be approved. There is therefore still a challenge to be taken up on K2 for the Polish team Adam Bielecki-Denis Urubko who had unsuccessfully attempted the winter adventure in 2018. She intends to do it again next winter, in so-called “alpine” style, that is. that is to say without the use of oxygen.