SAINT-DENIS, France — The barricades went up early. Metal fences, police directing traffic, military officers with guns slung over their shoulders. It was hard to move around the Stade de France on Friday, and this was by design.
In packs and throngs, people still shuffled toward this massive stadium on the outskirts of Paris. From the metro station. From the cafes. From the caged-in basketball court a few blocks away, one game ending a few hours before another, in a different sport, began.
The fans, many in the yellow of Romania but most in the blue of France, smiled and laughed. Some took selfies with other spectators or even law-enforcement officials. A young boy tried on one of the gendarme’s hats.
Eighteen years to the day since France opened the 1998 World Cup here (which it won), six years since France was awarded this tournament and about…