French football for dummies

You might have heard at one point or another about this curious country that is France. You probably know a thing or two about the customs and traditions of its people, and you have an utterly accurate albeit cliché way to describe them: Pretentious frog eating, cheese loving drunks who’d shag your wife giving the opportunity.

When they are not working or giving it good to the neighbor’s wife, the people of France distract themselves with this little game called football , or soccer as you heretics in America call it.

If you got dragged into a game while in France, or you decided for some crazy reason to move to France, here’s what you need to know about French football and more importantly how to survive through it.

The national competitions

The Ligue 1

The first division and the most prestigious one (note that I’m using the word prestige loosely here). The winner of the championship gets to go home with the “Hexagoal”. A trophy that looks like a giant plate with a ball sticking out of it. Very much like the dipping plate that Auntie Margaret gave you.

The ligue 2

The second division is like global warming, visiting your grandma’, or your membership to the gym: you know it’s there, you probably should care about it, but you don’t unless you have absolutely nothing better to do or if something has really gone wrong.

In addition to those, there’s the “Coupe de la ligue” and the “Coupe de France”, I should probably tell you about them, but I’m already bored so let’s skip ahead.

Le classique

The widely overrated rivalry between the team on the north and the team on the south, as it often is. It opposes these two teams:

Olympique de Marseille (OM)

They are the crazy, loud, penniless people of the south. They won once the champions league and they won’t let you forget it. EVER! Their stadium is “le Vélodrome”, populated with overly enthusiastic fans, and presumed to have the best ambience of the ligue 1.

Paris Saint Germain (PSG)

They are the rich, soulless, unholy Qatari moneybags of the bioutifoul city of Paris and they are wildly disliked for it. But like Taylor Swift said: Haters gonna hate. They have been pretty much unstoppable since they went on a crazy shopping spree, buying players left and right.

Who’s who?


The previous coach of l’équipe de France. A guy known for three things only:

  • proposing to his girlfriend on live TV (and getting turned down)
  • being the first coach that had to face a strike… from his own players
  • Looking like « if Cara Delevingne and a broomstick had a 70 years old baby »

Now he is a TV consultant and manages surprisingly to be an even bigger pain in the ass than before.

Jean Michel Aulas

President of l’Olympique de Lyon. He is in many ways very much like Donald Trump: old, bitter, full of himself and has the same twitter addiction. And like Trump his tweets lead us all to the same inevitable question:  Blimey! Is this shit for real?

Didier Deschamps

The current coach of les bleus. He’s mainly talked of for two things: having an almost disturbingly good luck when it comes to drawing the weakest teams to face in every competition and being that guy that won’t call-up Benzema. If you don’t know Benzema… well, it’s a fucking long story and I suggest you google it.

Paganelli aka Paga

A journalist (once again used loosely) that roams the pitches of the ligue 1. Has no idea what’s he saying and like you, when you’re drunk, strongly believes that he can speak foreign languages. His catch phrase is « en tout cas on te le souhaite ».

Some words

Enculéééééé (adding as many vowels as you can): insult wildly popular in and out of the stadiums. Goes for everything from the referee, to the players of the other team, to the ball touching the bar, to finding out you’re all out of baguette.

Défaite encourageante: a very French concept almost Buddhist like way of life. Translates to « we lost, but we sucked much less than last time ». #losersmotto

L’important c’est les 3 points: literally “the most important thing is the 3 points”. It’s the most popular sentence used by the players, and we suspect the only one they know. A way to tell the journalists to bugger-off.

Une Purge: you may hear it from time to time. As you might have guessed it’s as bad as it sounds. Used here to describe a boring match that often results with no goals scored at the end, and your will to live severely diminished.

Finally, and maybe the most important concept that you must remember is the Footix concept. A Footix is someone that mimics an interest in football, poses as an expert on the matter, but really is as ignorant as they come. Generally the Footix, supports many teams all at the same time and has no problem changing his allegiance accordingly to their results. He ends-up following only the big teams. The point being: France is a country of Footix and so am I and I recommend strongly that you throw away this guide.

La fin

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