Quevilly dare to dream of French Cup final

PARIS - Quevilly celebrated with nothing more than a "little party" and some car-horn blowing after becoming the third club at their lowly level to reach the French Cup last four since the end of World War I hostilities.

It is that kind of club. Modest in almost every respect.

They have a budget of 1.2 million euros per annum - 75 times smaller than Ligue 1 Olympique Lyon - and are better known for their light industry and oil refineries than their mostly amateur footballers.

But on Tuesday, their assortment of students, a supermarket worker and a policeman from Rouen's third-largest suburb again upset the formbook by beating their second top-flight opponents in succession with a 3-1 victory over Boulogne.

NEWS: Quevilly continue dream run

Only two sides previously from France's fourth division have reached the national cup semi-final since the competition was launched in 1918.

"We had a little party because we qualified but nothing fancy," club president Arnaud Larue told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.


In the surroundings of the Robert Diochon stadium in nearby Rouen, where they had to play because their ground is too small to stage such a cup tie, the party grew bigger right after the final whistle.

"The bars were full. I think people were really happy for us. In Quevilly, people were blowing horns and there were some people who went to the streets to celebrate."

Hardly the Champs d'Elysees-style massive jamboree which followed France's World Cup win in 1998 but for Quevilly, quite something nevertheless.

To be fair, the club are no strangers to cup runs having reached the 1927 final, which they lost to Olympique Marseille, and the semi-finals in 1968.

But at that time, they were a third division team so this is a greater achievement.

President Larue does not want anyone running away with the idea, however, that his current set-up is anything less than professional in attitude if not wholly through the playing staff's salaries.

"We have a very good squad, an excellent coach and we do not make a lot of changes as years go by," he said.

"This is a professional set-up after all."

Quevilly, fifth in their CFA (championnat de France amateur) Group D standings, have eight players under contract who are "semi-professional" according to Larue.

They make around 2,000 euros a month - while the average salary in Ligue 1 is 47,000, but the other ones have other occupations, he said.

"One of them is a policeman, some are students, another one works in a supermarket, and another one works in a transit company," said Larue.

The club are hoping to emulate fellow amateurs Calais's feat of reaching the final in 2000 but will have to beat St Etienne or Lens, who play their quarter-final later on Wednesday, to do so.

"St Etienne, it's 'Les Verts', a legendary team in France, that would be good. We are looking forward to Sunday's draw," said Larue, who has fielded a host of co