Euro 2016 will kick off June 10 despite security fears. 130 people died in a series of terror attacks in Paris, the French capital, last November, and there are concerns that this tournament will also be targeted.
But as CCTV’s Dan Williams reports, the French players are confident the competition will be remembered for matters on the pitch. Follow Dan Williams on Twitter @Danielclearcut
Euro 2016 kicks off in France despite security fearss CCTV’s Dan Williams reports, the French players are confident the competition will be remembered for matters on the pitch.
The Clairefonteine football (soccer) training center, surrounded by woodlands, is home to the French national football team.
A giant World Cup trophy sits proudly on the lawn, possibly bringing inspiration, almost certainly adding pressure. But many of the French players said they are going into the tournament with a sense of perspective, following the terror attacks in Paris last year. Three bombs exploded outside of the Stade De France in November as France played Germany.
Although the tournament begins under a heightened sense of tension, the players believe fans will be safe.
“I would like to reassure the fans that are in the stadium that there is no threat of terrorism. I think the French authorities have worked very hard to make everything work in the best way possible. It is a celebration before everything. And we have to have this celebration,” Bacary Sagna, France defender, said.
The players from both sides spent much of the night of the November attacks huddled in one of the dressing rooms.
Pitch-side reporter Frederic Calenge was at the game, noting that the tragedy had a profound impact on the French team.
“The events of last year really brought the team together. After the match against Germany, the players stayed together here in Clairefontaine together. Everybody was very upset and watched the events together on TV. Those memories are still very fresh and this really brought the group together,” Calenge said.
But France has made a habit of winning tournaments on home soil. Members of the class of 2016 are determined to follow suit.
“If people say we are the favorites we will assume this, there isn’t any problem but the objective today is to go to the end and to win because we are at home. And we want to give a super competition,” Steve Mandanda, France goalkeeper, said.
If France can lift the trophy in July, it will mean much more than simply winning a football tournament.