#WelcomeFans to the Stade de France

Two of the most famous football nations collided in Paris last week and thanks to Accor Hotels, so did the football cultures of both France and the Netherlands.

Their #WelcomeFans campaign saw the hotel chain giveaway 50 tickets for the crucial World Cup qualifier at Stade de France – 25 for the hosts and 25 for the traveling Oranje support that they shipped in from Amsterdam. Although the numbers were even, sadly for the Dutch, the scoreline certainly wasn’t.

Arjen Robben captained a side that faced some of the most revered and exciting young talents in not only French but world football. Thomas Lemar’s thundering, ever-rising drive past Jasper Cillessen underlined the potential that Les Bleus have to impose themselves on the global game in the near future. Stars like Paul Pogba and Antoine Greizmann shone, with the latter opening the scoring early on and instinctively breaking into his trademark jig for the big screens of the famous stadium to display.

It set the tone and set up the atmosphere for the French as an excitable Stade de France was bouncing throughout the ninety minutes, particularly behind Hugo Lloris’ goal in the first half. Chant leaders aided by megaphones orchestrated a Parisian crowd who watched their young side beat their 10-manned opponents 4-0. One of the biggest cheers from that end came when Julian Mpabbe entered the pitch as the teenager, recently transferred to local giants PSG, walked onto the pitch to chants of his name. They grew louder not long after as he ran at the Dutch defence, twisting and turning at pace, before playing a neat one-two and rounding off the scoring of the game himself – a pleasure to see and one that we can only thank Accor Hotels for.

A week before the game Life After Football had helped them give away two pairs of tickets, as our readers were tasked with finding the French fan in Vondelpark. A VIP trip to Paris and a night in one of their hotels was the prize for the winners, a more than decent consolation for what happened on the Stade de France pitch during their visit.

For a full round up of everything that Accor Hotels made possible before, during and after this big game, head to their website. Also, stay tuned to LAF for more from our trip to Paris, including this photo essay…