It's a familiar problem. What to do when you really feel like a good
soccer riot, but your team has already placed out of the World Cup? Why,
just riot on behalf of someone else's soccer team, of course. That's
what an estimated 200 to 250 Parisians did on
Wednesday, attacking policemen and overturning no less than 20 cars in
protest to Algeria's World Cup loss against the U.S. team.
What, other than pure soccer hooliganism, could have prompted this? Vanity Fair's Julian Sancton explains:
There is a significant Algerian contingent in France, and a majority of the Algerian soccer team’s players are French-born.
The riots are the latest soccer-related tremor to rock France, which is already reeling from its own humiliating World Cup performance, made all the more disgraceful by the embarrassing behavior of the Gallic squad. As the team returns home, President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered an official appraisal of the state of French soccer. (If this seems excessive, remember that that Congress ordered special hearing to address the issue of steroids in baseball, and George W. Bush mentioned it in one of his State of the Union addresses.)