• This Friday, Euro 2021 football begins.

  • A competition that falls at the peak in a Europe eager to get out of the health crisis, after a year and a half of bereavement, confinement and epimedic waves.

  • This sports competition will allow the population to regain national pride.

"The wind is rising, it is time to live", wrote Paul Valéry.

This Friday, Euro 2021 football starts in an old continent hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The opportunity for Europeans to rediscover joie de vivre and celebration until the end of the night, but also a whole paraphernalia as folkloric as patriotic: national anthem sung at full blast, country flag and national team jersey.

Nothing like this after a year and a half of seeing all the countries of Europe totally overwhelmed by the Covid-19 and drinking the cup with each new epidemic wave.

Far from the success of the Asian or Australian strategy, far from the American or Israeli speed to vaccinate, European countries have never seemed so weak, and tensions in each nation are exploding.

So that you love me in sport

“The Euro is falling steeply after this health crisis to regain some national pride. It is not new that sport serves international prestige, but it is a feeling that was particularly felt by the pandemic, ”notes Stanislas Frenkiel, sports historian at the University of Artois. Sport to embody the nation, to sublimate and transcend it, the refrain is indeed known.

This does not prevent the formula from being effective.

"The Euro is the first public social event for over a year, moreover sporting, therefore capable of transcending social origins, social classes, generations", lists Jean-Baptiste Guégan, geopolitician of sport.

And getting together, when it comes to talking about national pride, is important.

Robert Zuli, psychologist and specialist in football emotions, explains: "Football is an excellent means of union for peoples, a common base to be shared", which may have been lacking in a year marked by divisions: vaccine against antivaxx , pro-confinement against anti, youth against fragile people, etc.

Journey to the end of the homeland

"A crisis does not only create divisions, it is also a source of solidarity and union", recalls the psychologist. According to a Cevipof survey in February 2021, the French had more confidence than before the health crisis in all French institutions and in all organizations essential to society. We can always debate whether sport is essential to society, but what is certain is that it is an institution. “As such, the national teams will benefit from a Covid effect which makes them even more popular,” indicates Jean-Baptiste Guégan. Football is the return to life. "

Proof of this is according to him, Emmanuel Macron was much more present for the Blues before this Euro than before the 2018 World Cup: “Politicians have understood that the national teams, more than ever, embodied the country.

But the big difference between the national union in the face of the coronavirus and that to come around football is obviously the context.

Being united in pain, mourning, and adversity has nothing to do with being united in joy, celebration, and celebration.

May my will be feast

"The Euro will make it possible to give a more festive, happier, more popular image of each country, far from the visions of confinements and resuscitation beds", enthuses Jean-Baptiste Guégan. And in terms of patriotism, “we are more proud of a country that is doing well. Partying and being happy will also be an opportunity to show victory against the coronavirus, which we have been able to overcome this crisis. And that, in terms of national pride… ”, points out Stanislas Frenkiel.

The Euro presents itself as a wonderful catharsis of the health crisis. Like five years ago in France, when the course of Griezmann and his gang had somewhat healed the traumas of the Bataclan, which had occurred a few months earlier. Because the competition begins this year in a Europe in full epidemic decline, which gradually lifts the barrier gestures and which finally massively vaccinate. “If the Euro had arrived in 2020, without an audience, between two waves of Covid-19 it would not have had the same festivity as today. There, it really symbolizes the return to life before, ”notes Robert Zuli.

But this national pride, regained for the time of one Euro, should not be overestimated.

Stanislas Frenkiel recalls that popular membership generally does not really begin until the quarter-finals, affecting only a small number of countries, and really only concerns the big winner.

And yet, even for him, “patriotism only lasts a few weeks and then runs out of steam.

It is an illusory pride ”.

The party is fleeting.


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