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French press review 21 June 2014

The French press is in a frenzy after les Bleus become the team to beat at the Brazil World Cup after thrashing Switzerland five-two. There’s comment on the government’s backing of GE’s bid for Alstom. And the IMF has a problem with Mali.


“Breathtaking euphoria!” screams L’Equipe.

A photo in the sports daily captures French striker Olivier Giroud, who started the goalfest, in ecstasy as he dives into a pack of teammates running from the bench to celebrate his goal.

Click here for our coverage of Brazil World Cup 2014

According to l’Equipe, last night’s magical demonstration and offensive fury of the Bleus against the Swiss are ample proof that Team France has all the assets it takes to become one of the great attractions of the World Cup.

“France blows up goal bank!” headlines Libération, the left-leaning paper hammering on the beautiful victory in Salvador de Bahia that is certain to wipe away the acrimony and discord and memories of the infamous strike at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“Blues set Brazil on fire!” crows Le Figaro.

It describes the five-two destruction of Switzerland as a giant step on the route to the quarter-finals. France will have to wait until next week's final round of games, though, to formally seal their second-round berth after Ecuador came from behind to beat Honduras two-one.

Even the usually straight-laced Catholic daily La Croix is carried away by the football bonanza taking place in Brazil, especially innovations such as the introduction of electronic refereeing - with 14 cameras focused on the goal line - which is expected to mark the tournament.

It sheds light on three principles introduced by the Fifa board that have transformed the game in recent years. The first was the introduction in 1966 of the yellow and red card code to ensure respect for the referee. Then there were the substitution rules to the protection of the physical integrity of players approved in 1970 and then the speeding-up of the game by forbidding goalkeepers from picking up back passes from teammates, a rule first applied during the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Libération welcomes the government’s approval of General Electric's (GE) 12.35-billion-euro bid for French industrial giant Alstom.

Dossier: War in Mali

Under the proposal the French state would take a controlling 20-per-cent stake in the power-to-rail jewel by buying two-thirds of the shares owned by French group Bouygues as a show of "patriotic vigilance".

GE had sweetened the offer by allowing the French government a veto over sensitive nuclear energy technology. General Electric was chosen over a rival offer from Germany's Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg blamed EU competition rules for thwarting a deal with Siemens, accusing Brussels of blocking the creation of European industrial giants, according to Libération.

Le Figaro reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has frozen a four-million-euro loan programme with Mali as it seeks justification from Bamako of two huge contracts signed under suspicious conditions.

According to Le Figaro, the IMF is seeking an audit of an unauthorised military equipment contract worth 105 million euros and the release of 30 million euros to acquire a brand new executive jet for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The spending is not provided for in the economic bailout agreement signed with the IMF, says Le Figaro. And Mali already owns a presidential jet but Keita probably finds it too old.


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