More than 200 France supporters packed into The American bar on Vancouver’s Main Street, which was hosting the ultimate party for fans of Les Bleus.
As the team scored one goal after another on Sunday morning towards their eventual 4-2 win, the squad’s second ever, the crowd erupted in cheers, with people hugging and jumping with abandon while singing the French national anthem.
As the game wound to a close, the singing turned to “I Will Survive” as France held its ground against the Croatians.
“This is going as good as it possibly could,” bar manager Joe Peters said, who only got a little more than an hour of sleep after working until 4 a.m. last night and preparing for the morning.
“It’s really something to be in here with a crowd,” he added as the crowd clapped and cheered behind him. “The energy’s really good, it’s looking good for [France] so I think we’re looking at a win here.”
By the time that win came, the pub exploded in jubilation as the referee blew the final whistle.
“France is once again champions of the world,” Guillaume yelled over the post-game celebrations. “It’s so beautiful to be here with everybody, and now it’ll be a big party for us!”
The bar served up croissants and French-inspired cocktails in honour of the team, which ended up winning its first title since 1998.
Confidence for Croatia
Meanwhile, dozens of fans and supporters were still waiting to get inside the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver minutes before Croatia kicked off their first-ever appearance at a World Cup final.
Inside, hundreds of people were already making their presence felt. Loud chants of “Croatia! Croatia!” could be heard bleeding through the walls of the building, when normally even a loud band playing inside produces little more than a dull murmur.
Joining the queuing fans were several more taking a smoke break after already gaining access inside, or otherwise getting one more gasp of fresh air before kickoff. What everyone shared was confidence Croatia could pull off a win.
“I predict two goals,” Nikola said, before showing off two cigars tucked in his waistband behind him — one for each celebration.
“I’m confident in it,” Matthew said. “Every 20 years there’s a new champion. This time it’ll be us.”
That was before France came out ahead to win it all, but inside the Cultural Centre fans were just happy to be a part of the historic finale for the first time.
“Croatia has the best food, best lovers, we do it all,” Alton said with a laugh before the match. “And we win cups.”
The team will now have to wait until 2022 to fulfill that promise, when the next World Cup debuts in Qatar.
—With files from Simon Little and Robyn Crawford
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