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Watching the World Cup Abroad: France

Anglo-French relations can be a little stand-offish at the best of times, let alone when there is the small matter of the world’s greatest football tournament to factor into the equation. Yet there is a glimmer of hope if you’re heading across the channel during the World Cup. Learn how to embrace the local culture and you’ll be able to soak up the World Cup atmosphere in one of the world’s most passionate, romantic and historic football nations.

Here’s Icelolly’s guide to fitting in with the Frenchies as you watch the footie this summer.

1. Learn the lingo

It’s well known that the French resent being made to speak English. If you want to get behind ‘les Bleus’ this summer, you’ll have to learn these essential French footballing phrases.

Come on you Blues!

Allez les Bleus!

Oh dear, there’s been another training ground mutiny

Oh non, il y a eu une autre mutinerie lors d'un entrainement

Now that is what I call a head-butt!

Alors, c'est ce que je peux appeler un coup de tête!

2. Show off your football trivia.

If your knowledge of these crucial football phrases is still leaving your French hosts stony-faced, then why not impress them with a bit of football trivia.

Knowing a few key facts about legendary French players will go a long way to winning the hearts of the local fan-base. However, trying to impress with your knowledge of modern stars like Zinedine Zidane or even Thierry Henry won’t get you very far. No, there is only one name that will truly bring out the rose-tinted glasses:

Name: Just Fontaine

Born 18/08/1933

Nickname: Justo

Clubs: Casablanca, Nice, Stade Reims

International Caps 21

Need to know. Quite frankly the most natural goal-scorer France has ever produced.

What to mention. Fontaine scored 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup. Yes that’s right, 13 goals in ONE World Cup. This record will probably never be broken and what’s more, he achieved this feat wearing a pair of borrowed boots!

What not to mention. Broken legs. Fontaine’s career was cruelly cut short after sustaining two broken legs in the same year. He retired from international football at the age of 27 with an astonishing 30 goals in 21 appearances for France. 

3. World Cup history

Key to watching the World Cup with our Gallic cousins is learning a bit about their history in the competition.Over the years the French have given us some of the world’s greatest and most innovative players from Platini to Makelele. Despite their romance with the beautiful game, they took the best part of a century to finally carve their name on the trophy.

Their time eventually came when the French hosted the tournament in 1998 and managed to overcome a much fancied Brazil side 3-0 in the final. The victory was largely down to the magnificent Zinedine Zidane who dominated the midfield and scored a brilliant brace.

8 short years later their hero from ’98 would mysteriously morph into a billy goat, charge Marco Materazzi, and change World Cup history for ever. Sacré bleu! 

4. Eat and drink like a local

French football fans have surprisingly similar tastes to those in the UK. You won’t find snails or frog’s legs served up in a proper French football pub. You’re much more likely to find the standard combination of chips, burgers and beer.

However if you’re desperate to seek out some ‘authentic’ French football cuisine, why not try ‘La gallete’ - a sausage wrapped in a savoury crepe made out of buckwheat flour. The dish originally became popular with footy fans from the Brittany region but is now becoming popular across the nation. Think of it as a hotdog in a sexy French designer dress. Ooh la la!

Icelolly compare deals to a vast array of French destinations from chic city breaks in Paris to the elegant sunshine of Nice on the south coast. Why not book today and feel the excitement of watching the world cup abroad this summer?