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France vs Germany
The huge match at Euro 2020 on Tuesday is the clash of the titans: France versus Germany.
Heading into the game, most suspect France will win.
Les Blues have one of the all-time great international squads, which has been boosted by Karim Benzema’s return.
Meanwhile, Germany are in a state of flux. They have an ageing team, an outgoing manager, and Timo Werner in attack.
Yet, while there’s a groundswell of opinion believing in France, back at home there’s a more divided set of opinions on the national team.
Youssoupha & the cancelled anthem
Heading into the Germany game, there’s fury in France about Youssoupha and the cancelled French football anthem.
Youssoupha is a 41-year-old French rapper. His parents were born in Congo and Senegal.
When Didier Deschamps announced France’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020, the French FA released an official video which used Youssoupha’s “Write my name in blue” as its track.
However, this video was the only time France played Youssoupha’s song. After that, it was cancelled by the far-right in France.
The far-right’s fury stemmed from a lyric Youssoupha penned 15-year-ago. That lyric read, “semen impregnates this b**** Marine Le Pen”.
Politico have reported on how the French National Rally party managed to cancel Youssoupha’s 2020 anthem:
In a controversy that engulfed sports and politics ahead of the European Football Championship… the far-right chief led a public offensive against a rapper whose song had been chosen as France’s anthem for the tournament.
Blasting what she called “insulting” and “outrageous” lyrics in a tweet, Le Pen and other right-wing figures criticized the top-selling artist Youssoupha not over the anthem itself, but over earlier songs in which he’d explicitly targeted her.
In discussing Youssoupha’s song being used by the French FA, Jordan Bardella, who is number two in the National Rally, said that picking this rapper was “giving in to a scum part of France.”
Note: French FA tried to argue Youssoupha was never cancelled
For what it’s worth – and that’s probably very little – the French FA have tried to argue that Youssoupha was never cancelled.
Speaking to Le Parisien, Noël Le Graët, the 79-year-old President of the French Football Federation, said that Youssoupha’s song had never been officially selected as the football team’s anthem at Euro 2020:
It was our young employees in the sales department who had this idea to accompany the unveiling of the list of 26 Blues (with Youssoupha’s music).
Some like rap, others less.
Youssoupha is a good rapper who, like others, may have had inappropriate lyrics.
I think we shouldn’t have done it.
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) May 26, 2021
What has Youssoupha’s reaction been to being cancelled?
On the eve of the France vs Germany match, Le Parisien have followed up on Youssoupha.
They report that Youssoupha no longer wants to talk about the controversy.
— Youssoupha (@youssouphamusik) June 5, 2021
The rapper is planning to watch France’s match in the garden of a friend’s hostel in Paris.
Le Parisien’s article also carries a quote from Bafétimbi Gomis, who has 3 goals in 12 appearances for France. Gomis said:
I would have understood it if such a thing happened with another rapper. But with (Youssoupha); it’s really ridiculous.
Youssoupha is an example who has advocated living together for years. He is the image of this team, which represents all parts of France, of all origins.
“J’aurai compris qu’un tel truc tombe sur un autre rappeur mais sur lui, c’est vraiment le comble, confie le footballeur @BafGomis Youssoupha prône le vivre ensemble depuis des années.”@MariePoussel remet quelques pendules à l’heure sur @youssouphamusikhttps://t.co/QF4eV25QLe
— Eric Bureau (@Eric_Bureau) June 15, 2021
The French team will kneel before the Germany match
Tottenham goalie Hugo Lloris confirmed on Monday that the French national team will kneel on the pitch before the game with Germany on Tuesday.
A journalist asked Lloris if the team will kneel, and the keeper said: “Yes, its planned”.
Culture wars: Why France are divided before Germany
In the hours leading up to kick-off in Munich, French football Twitter is awash with nationals spouting all their fury against Les Blues.
On the left side of the political spectrum, anger is growing that the French national team are willing to take the knee in a symbolic act in support of the fight against racism, yet there’s been little to no backlash for the cancelling of Youssoupha’s football anthem.
The hashtag #BoycottEquipedeFrance is dramatically growing in activity.
⚽ Absence de diversité Française, Benzema, Youssoupha, soumission idéologique avec genou à terre… Cette équipe des Bleus n’est pas la mienne.#BoycottEquipedeFrance #FFF#Football pic.twitter.com/xLwJjqvSOs
— Le Conservateur (@Fr_Conservateur) June 15, 2021
— Jean-Marc Alric (@jmAlric11) June 14, 2021
On the right, meanwhile, there’s anger building France that the national team will take the knee against Germany.
Of course, all this happens at a time when the French team is filled with superstar players like Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
Politico have commented:
The episode underscores just how fraught France’s cultural and political debate has become in the run-up to a presidential election next year in which Le Pen is a top contender against President Emmanuel Macron.
France’s football team, which is made up mostly of players with immigrant backgrounds, has long been held up as a symbol of diversity and healthy “vivre ensemble” — or the idea that different communities can live happily side by side.
Football Live streaming: Featured matches on June 15
|How to Watch|
|Hungary vs Portugal||15 June, 17:00 (In 7 hours)||1-2||1-2|
|France vs Germany||15 June, 20:00 (In 10 hours)||2-1||2-1|
|Japan vs Kyrgyzstan||15 June, 11:25 (In 2 hours)||3-1||3-1|
|India vs Afghanistan||15 June, 15:00 (In 5 hours)||2-1||2-1|
|United Arab Emirates vs Vietnam||15 June, 17:45 (In 8 hours)||1-2||1-2|
|Thailand vs Malaysia||15 June, 17:45 (In 8 hours)||1-1||1-1|
|Bangladesh vs Oman||15 June, 18:00 (In 8 hours)||0-4||0-4|
|China vs Syrian Arab Republic||15 June, 19:00 (In 9 hours)||2-2||2-2|
|Saudi Arabia vs Uzbekistan||15 June, 19:00 (In 9 hours)||2-0||2-0|
|Palestine vs Yemen||15 June, 19:00 (In 9 hours)||1-0||1-0|
|Chinese Taipei vs Kuwait||15 June, 20:00 (In 10 hours)||0-5||0-5|
|Curacao vs Panama||16 June, 01:00 (In 15 hours)||2-0||2-0|
|Canada vs Haiti||16 June, 02:05 (In 16 hours)||2-1||2-1|
|El Salvador vs Saint Kitts and Nevis||16 June, 02:05 (In 16 hours)||2-0||2-0|