Portugal-France: in a confined Lisbon, “the atmosphere? There are not any”

The clash of two Portuguese realities is shown on live local news channels. On the one hand, the red banner which recalls the closure of restaurants and other businesses, as part of the confinement that starts this weekend, and on the other side of the demonstrations which degenerate in Porto. Before its decisive match against Portugal, this Saturday evening (8:45 p.m.), the France team landed on Friday at midday in a country rather spared by the Covid-19 crisis during the first wave, but now severely affected (3,000 deaths in all, about 80 per day this week in the country of 10 million inhabitants).

In Lisbon, in the heart of a city that is divided between Benfica and Sporting, the League of Nations match between Portugal and the Blues is necessarily relegated far behind the first generalized confinement which requires the Portuguese to remain cloistered during the week after 11 p.m. and until 5 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday from this weekend. The reactions are not very different from those heard in France, even if the wearing of the compulsory mask is well respected: “People can go to the restaurant, but not to the stadium, asks José, near the Avenidade da Liberdade,” the local Champs-Élysées. And the virus does not circulate before 1 pm? “

A few minutes later, this Friday afternoon, a much more sparse demonstration than that of the city in the north of the country starts on the very wide avenue that goes down to the Tagus and the terraces are still carefree.

Demonstration of public service unions, this Friday./LP/Guillaume Georges

The Blues, them, follow their usual circuit: arrival at the airport, transfer to their hotel where their floors have been privatized, not far from the Estadio Da Luz, in a peripheral district more animated by the highways than by local life. . In this area, Benfica fans are everywhere and the love of football manages to find its way into the somewhat anxious atmosphere.

Gibraltar, in his fifties, who speaks a few words of French, will not miss the match: “I see a 2-1 for Portugal, with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva. With France, it’s always a revenge! France is not good at the moment… They lost against Finland. Mbappé is not in good shape either (Editor’s note: the Parisian, injured, missed the last match and remains very uncertain about the shock). I like Griezmann. His mother comes from the north of Portugal. “

In front of the large Lisbon enclosure (65,647 seats) adorned with red and the Benfica eagle, André takes shots from his son Santiago, 5 years old. The kid hits hard, before going to train on the synthetic just to the foot. “What’s the vibe?” There is not, quite simply, regrets the dad, socios of the club and present at all the matches at home before the establishment of the closed door. I miss the stress and the excitement of the stands, although I am interested in this game. As long as there is Cristiano, I am confident. With the Blues, I am a fan of Pogba, because I am also a supporter of Manchester. “

Santiago, 5 years old, and his father André. / LP / Guillaume Georges
Santiago, 5 years old, and his father André. / LP / Guillaume Georges

This Saturday, the stadium forecourt will contrast with the quiet animation that reigned when the Blues discovered the lawn on the eve of the meeting, between fast food restaurants and kids climbing at the feet of the bronze statue of the legend Eusébio. At 8:45 p.m., RTP1, the public channel that broadcasts the meeting, will be the main meeting point for the city of seven hills and the rest of this passionate country.

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