By Harjeev Sabherwal, Global MBA student 2012-2013, India
I have read that one of the best ways to understand a society is at a sporting event. In India where cricket is a religion, excitement reaches a fever pitch when India is playing. So when I heard from classmates that there was going to be an international friendly football game between France and Japan in Paris I couldn’t wait to go. Six of us had decided to go and we booked our tickets online. The day of the match we didn’t know what to expect. We took the train from Cergy to Chatelet Les Halles and then changed lines to reach Stade De France. At Chatelet Les Halles we could see huge crowds dressed in the national colours getting ready to take the train to Stade De France.
Once we reached Stade De France the atmosphere was electrifying. As we entered the stadium we could see French flags everywhere. The teams were introduced on the large screens and the loudest cheers were for thetwo stars on the French national side, Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery. Following the players' introductions it was time for the national anthems. 40,000+ people singing the national anthem together can really give you goose bumps and intimidate the opposition. If that wasn’t enough, then began the chant “Allez Les Bleus” all across the stadium. The effects showed as the Japanese didn’t start off too well, with France attacking from the word 'go.' No sporting event can be complete without "the wave" and thus began the challenge to get it started. After a few failed attempts, the wave was underway and didn’t stop for about 12 rounds. In all the excitement there were sections of the crowd that started bursting fire crackers and smoke bombs inside the stadium.
Although Japan won the match the experience was out of this world. As we were about to leave we heard the announcement about the next international football match at Stade De France – France vs Germany on February 06, 2013. Just can’t wait.