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Newspapers in Education: Euro 2016 in France, week five

This page has been specially designed and written for those thousands of pupils from across Northern Ireland who are doing the Belfast Telegraph cross-curricular project on Euro 2016. Over a six-week period we will focus on the key players and the key cities

Published 08/06/2016

Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane

In our project we will look at each of the cities in France staging Euro 2016 fixtures. Today it is the turn of Saint-Etienne and Saint-Denis

Saint-Etienne is in eastern central France and prides itself on its industrial past.

The city had the first railway built in France, and at the start of the 19th century it was the country’s biggest mining area.

Nowadays Saint-Etienne is better known for recent cultural developments such as the Le Fil concert hall — a large performance venue for various artists.

Other places of interest include the Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), which houses a large art collection. You can also visit the Etivalliere sports park, a large-scale sports complex that contains a whole range of facilities and a museum dedicated to the city’s football team.

There are cruises down the Loire, the longest river in France, from the nearby town of Saint-Victor-sur-Loire, which boasts some beautiful scenery.

The Saint-Etienne football team means a great deal to the locals. The side is affectionately known as Les Verts (“The Greens”), which is the colour of their home shirts.

The football stadium in the city, which is named after French industrialist Geoffroy Guichard, has been nicknamed “The Cauldron” by visiting fans. It will play host to England’s final group game against Slovakia on June 20.

Stadium: Stade Geoffroy Guichard

Capacity: 42,000

Only 10km from the centre of Paris, Saint-Denis is named after the saint who is buried in the town’s basilica. His tomb became a place of worship and was eventually turned into a monastery in 630AD. Saint-Denis is also the resting place for more than 75 kings and queens of France, including Louis XVIII.

During the French Revolution, Saint-Denis received the nickname “la Ville Rouge” (the Red City) due to the socialist presence in the town. In the 1970s, it was hit badly by the decline of heavy industry and went through a turbulent period of economic downturn. It was eventually rescued with the construction of the Stade de France and the arrival of the Paris metro. Today, it is believed to have the youngest population in the country.

In Saint-Denis it is worth visiting the La Plaine district which is home to the Saint-Denis Basilica and also a Museum of Art and History that depicts the history of the town. The Place Jean-Jaures nearby is a thriving marketplace that has more than 300 stalls and is also well worth seeing.

The Stade de France in Saint-Denis has become one of the most famous sporting stadiums in the world.

It was constructed in 1998 for the World Cup and became the home of the French national team once the tournament was over. An 80,000 all-seater stadium, it has played host to many big games including World Cup finals in both football and rugby and two Champions League finals. It will be the venue for the final of Euro 2016.

Stadium: Stade de France

Capacity: 80,000

Player profiles

Name: Robbie Keane

Born: July 8, 1980

Age: 35

Height: 1.75 metres

Position: Striker

Club: L.A. Galaxy

Country: Republic of Ireland

Robbie Keane has been a regular in Republic of Ireland squads since he made his international debut against the Czech Republic in 1998.

The striker, who plays his club football for American team L.A. Galaxy, is the most capped player in Irish history. He is also the most prolific goalscorer in the Republic of Ireland’s history, having scored 67 goals for them ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament.

Keane is a much travelled player, starting out at Wolves and scoring on his first team debut as a 17-year-old in 1997.

He went on to play for Coventry City, Inter Milan in Italy and Leeds United, though at club level he is best known for his time at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, where he was a superb goalscorer and team player.

Keane transferred to Liverpool in the summer of 2008, but the move did not work out and he went back to Spurs after just six months at Anfield. He joined current club L.A. Galaxy in 2011. There have also been loan spells at Celtic, West Ham and Aston Villa during an eventful and successful career.

At international level, Keane has made a habit of scoring crucial goals in big games. He may no longer be the force he was, but he remains a very useful player for Republic manager Martin O’Neill to have in his squad.

Name: Gianluigi Buffon

Born: January 28, 1978

Age: 38

Height: 1.92 metres

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Juventus

Country: Italy

Gianluigi Buffon is the longest serving Italian player in their squad and will captain Italy during the tournament.

The goalkeeper has played for Italy since 1997, and is the country’s most capped player of all time.

Buffon is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and has won many trophies during his career, both with Italy and his club Juventus, where he holds the record for the most minutes played without conceding a league goal.

Buffon’s greatest achievement was being part of the Italy squad that won the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was also a member of the team that finished second at Euro 2012.

He began his career with Parma, making his debut in 1995. He has been the first choice goalkeeper at Juventus since joining them in 2001. He has won seven league titles with them and finished runner-up in the Champions League twice.

Buffon is to retire after the 2018 World Cup finals, meaning this will be his last ever European Championship with Italy.

Pupil profile

Name: Matthew Porter

School: Fort Hill Integrated Primary School, Lisburn

Age: 11

Class: P7

Which sport or sports do you take part in?

I participate in playing football. I play regularly for Lisburn Youth’s U11 football team. Normally I play centre back.

Who is your favourite sportsperson and why?

My favourite sports person would have to be Jerome Boateng, a defender for Bayern Munich.  The reason he is my favourite sportsperson is because he is strong and can tackle.  I think that he would be one for the best defenders.

Which team or teams do you support? I support Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Which country do you think will win the Euros 2016?

I think that Germany will win Euro 2016.

Belfast Telegraph

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