IN THEThe Irish papers have all sent correspondents to Paris to cover tonight’s key clash between Ireland and France to decide who goes to South Africa for next summer’s FIFA World Cup.
The Irish Independent leads with a photo of Irish revelers on front of the Moulin Rouge yesterday.
“Wave after wave of Ireland supporters descended on France yesterday. More are expected to land today for the do-or-die World Cup match against les Bleus,” the paper says.
The Paris correspondent for the Irish Times, Ruadhain McCormaic, spoke to fans in one of Paris’s many Irish pubs. He says around 15,000 supporters are expected to crowd into Stade de France tonight despite the French Football Federation having done its best to keep the Irish attendance at half that figure.
One fan Vincent Sutton recalls the last France-Ireland match in Stade de France, “I remember the Marseillaise came on and the whole stadium erupted with the Irish fans humming along with it. Twenty thousand of us. The French were just looking around. They couldn’t believe it. Amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!”
Emmet Malone writing in the paper’s sports pages says it will take Ireland’s best result in a qualifying game for at least 22 years – arguably ever” to win tonight.
Both teams will be virtually unchanged after Saturday’s match in Dublin. The French side will see Eric Abidal replaced by Sebastien Squillaci at the back but “there is no huge qualitative difference between the pair.
See the French Press Review for indepth coverage of what the French papers are saying about the match.
Other stories in today’s international papers:
Algerians on the attack against Egyptians tonight: to be or not to be in South Africa
Editorial on US-China relations: “Beyond mutual benefit”
Who speaks for Europe? Criticism of 'shambolic' process to fill key jobs