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French Baguettes: Friendly competition

American supporters competed in a fan friendly against members of the French supporters group. Fun ensued.

Some of the best days of trips to a U.S. Soccer match on foreign soil is the ability to play some soccer and mix it up with the locals. The Women’s World Cup is no exception, with fans finding opportunities daily to kick a soccer ball around in parks or public squares. However, on some occasions, the American Outlaws organize friendlies against other supporters groups or teams to get some friendly competition going for its members. One of those friendlies took place yesterday, when the American Outlaws, a supporters group for the United States national teams, took on Irrésistibles Français, the supporters group for the France national teams. The teams last competed a year ago in Lyon, hours before the United States Men’s National Team took on France in a pre-World Cup friendly. The two organizations have remained friendly throughout that time and decided to organize another friendly with so many here for the 2019 World Cup.

It was a beautiful afternoon at Stade Paul Faber on the northwest side of Paris for the match. IF had participated in a soccer tournament, so they were warmed up and ready to go when the American Outlaws arrived. The game began with the lineups and national anthems.

After the anthems were concluded, the handshake line commenced and the captains for both teams presented gifts to each other.

Then, the game commenced. It was clear that IF came to play and had practice playing with each other, scoring a couple goals in the first ten minutes. The Outlaws played hard, but it was clear they needed a bit more practice as a unit. The first half score was one to forget for the Americans.

The fun carried on throughout the match, with spirited play on both sides. In the second half, the Americans added two quick goals to make it close before the French pulled away. Early reports of a 9-2 final score were without foundation.

Still, getting out and playing against local supporters is always one of the best parts of any trip to see the USMNT or USWNT compete. Mixing it up with local supporters not only forges lifelong bonds, it allows for future collaboration between the groups. If the USWNT and France do make it to a quarterfinal matchup in Paris, these two supporters will be trying to outsing each other to will their team to victory. Off the field, they’ve forged friendships that will continue long after this tournament concludes. In the end, that’s what this World Cup is all about. The beautiful game is indeed beautiful.