Most of the Syrian troops and residents of Ain Terma, just outside the capital Damascus, watching the World Cup’s final match were hoping that Croatia would win.
Most Syrians in areas controlled by the government harbor antipathy for France as many of them consider it part of a coalition opposed to President Bashar Assad.
France is Syria’s former colonial power and anti-French sentiments are usually high in the country. Many Syrian soap operas depicting that period usually show the French as ruthless occupiers.
On the edge of Ain Tarma, five members of the elite Republican Guards units watched the match Sunday evening as they sipped cups of sweetened tea.
Inside the town, people gathered around TVs in shops and homes watching the soccer, Syria’s most popular sport.