WARSAW (Reuters) - A victory for France over Portugal in Sunday’s European soccer Championship final would give the country a welcome morale boost, French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday.
“I am not a player nor the coach and I deserve no credit for the France team’s successes,” Hollande, a keen soccer fan who has attended several matches at the June 10-July 10 tournament in France, told a NATO conference in Warsaw.
“I do believe, however, that it (a final win) would have a positive influence on the morale of the French population by making them not only happy but also proud of their team and what it stands for,” he said.
“A victory ... always gives a country the feeling that it can succeed, not only in sport but also in economy and culture, on the international stage, in politics and diplomacy,” he added. “It would therefore bring some extra confidence.”
France is hoping the “feel good factor” of a successful Euro 2016 will fire up a tentative economic recovery, although the direct impact will be short lived.
Hollande must also certainly be hoping a winning French team will give his dismal popularity ratings a desperately needed fillip.
Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau, writing by Patrick Vignal in Paris,; editing by Rex Gowar