Football fever gripped the city, with its substantial French population, as France took on Uruguay in the World Cup quarterfinals on Friday.
French nationals, cutting across age-gender segments, queued up outside the Alliance Francaise of Pondicherry (AFP) on Suffren Street where a special screening was organised. The screening had been organised in association with the Francais du Monde - Association democratique des Francais a l'etranger.
Well before the commencement of the match at about 7.15 p.m., Francais du Monde president Adrien Mirande, who arrived early holding the flag of France, was getting busy reserving seats for AFP members.
“This is a private screening for the members of the association and AFP and the first preference is given to them,” he said.
The audience in the hall grew as the match got under way. If there was applause as each member of the French football team — which turned out in white — was introduced by the TV commentator, what followed was wild celebration as the French went ahead by a solitary goal before recess, and then breached the tough Uruguan wall a second time.
Meanwhile, the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) too held a private screening for their employees, public screening on the beach near Le Café.
French President Emmanuel Macron had, in a recent tweet on a visit to Nigeria, said: “As the Super Eagles (Nigeria) are no longer in the competition, please support the French Team in the Football World Cup!” Nigeria’s football team had clashed with Argentina a record five times at the World Cup only to draw a blank each time. In their latest encounter in Russia, they went down (1-2) to Lionel Messi’s Argentina. And, as the hooter sounded, a joyous audience went home giving their team a realistic chance of taking home the most prized trophy in football.