Mathieu Biletic, 24, and Pia Ramadier, 25, watch the French national women’s team play the U.S. on Friday June 28, 2019. (Theophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Mathieu Biletic, 24, and Pia Ramadier, 25, watch the French national women’s team play the U.S. on Friday June 28, 2019. (Theophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Local French supporters disappointed after defeat in World Cup

Facebook page brings fans together at the Golden Gate Tap Room

Ten last minutes of hope.

Flags painted on their cheeks, clenched fists smashing the tables frantically and flags waving, French supporters cheered “Allez les Bleues” (“Come on France”) Friday afternoon as they waited out the last minutes of the game in the hope of an equalizing goal that never came.

They had gathered in the Golden Gate Tap Room, a bar in the Lower Nob Hill district, to watch the quarterfinal match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup against the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), the defending champion.

Many bookmakers listed the two teams as among the favorites of the competition. The awaited quarterfinal match brought around 100 French supporters to the bar, eight times more than the 15 who came out to watch the first group phase match on June 7th. Jimmy Conrad, former U.S men’s national soccer team’s captain and now a YouTuber with 130,000 followers, broadcast the match on Twitch, a live streaming platform.

When the two teams met previously on June 19th for a friendly match, France had won 3-1.

But on Friday, the United States won 2-1 after two goals from midfielder Megan Rapinoe, and qualified for the semifinal.

“They are almost unbeatable. They run so fast. It feels like we’re playing against machines,” said a disappointed French supporter.

Most supporters came to the bar because of “The French Team Fans,” an official Facebook page for French supporters created by Arnaud Auger Sengupta, 31, and Jules Caron, two French nationals living in Lower Nob Hill and Alamo Square, on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Back then, 40 supporters gathered at Kezar Bar for the first match of the group phase on June 16th, 2018.

“The experience is better abroad because you have to share and communicate with people you don’t know when you would have stayed with your family in France,” said Emmanuel Daval, a French supporter who has lived in the United States since 1992.

“Everything is more magical and powerful,” said Sengupta.

While Recreation and Parks officials scheduled a public screening at Sue Bierman Park at Washington and Drumm streets along the Embarcadero, as they did for the 2018 FIFA World Cup’s final, the French Team Fans preferred to stay at the Golden Gate Tap Room, which has partnered with them for every French game since France played Argentina in the 2018 FIFA World Cup round-of-16.

The page then caught the attention of the French media and got a steady boost on social media.

The supporters doubled at every game after that, to reach an all-time high of more than 2,000 people estimated to have been watching the Men’s World Cup final in and around The Golden Gate Tap Room.

The crowd grew so large that San Francisco Police Department shut down the cable car line for three hours on Powell Street after supporters took to the streets to celebrate France’s victory in the competition on July 15th last year.

Now, the French Team Fans are experiencing defeat for the first time. Group organizers say they now plan to move to McTeague’s Saloon, the official bar of the American Outlaws, to support the United States.

tlarcher@sfexaminer.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

 

Evan, 13, Thais, 16, Lou, 16 and Flora, 15, stopped to watch the French national women’s team play the U.S. on Friday June 28, 2019 while visiting San Francisco on vacation. (Theophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Evan, 13, Thais, 16, Lou, 16 and Flora, 15, stopped to watch the French national women’s team play the U.S. on Friday June 28, 2019 while visiting San Francisco on vacation. (Theophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

U.S. Soccer fans cheer as the U.S. Women’s Soccer team defeats France 2-1 in the quarter finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup at a viewing party at Golden Gate Tap Room near Union Square on Friday, June 28, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

U.S. Soccer fans cheer as the U.S. Women’s Soccer team defeats France 2-1 in the quarter finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup at a viewing party at Golden Gate Tap Room near Union Square on Friday, June 28, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read