Not since D-Day has there been such a successful U.S. invasion of France.
In winning the World Cup, the American women didn’t merely collect their fourth title (as much as the rest of the world combined), but also defeated the great former colonial powers of Europe (Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands), at Europe’s game, on European soil.
Our women weren’t in France alone. They were backed by thousands of American fans who traveled to support the team and cheer for even the smallest developments in the U.S. team’s favor, whether it was a ball gone out of bounds or a minor interception.
The Americans came from San Diego and Atlanta; Portland, Oregon, and New York City; Sacramento, California, and Mississippi; Arkansas and northern Virginia. They came as parents with their young children, as twentysomething soccer fanatics, and as middle-aged couples. They were white, black, Asian, and everything else.
Some came just to see France and watch soccer. Some came after watching the Yankees play the Red Sox in London. Some went on to other European countries. Others just happened to be in Europe while the tournament was going on, so they bought expensive tickets and took a side trip to support the team.
Not many, but a few fans even brought their Trump hats and Trump flags, which they waved a few feet from the rainbow flags waved with the same patriotic intent.
The support paid off. American fans dominated the stadium every time the U.S. played. They crossed an ocean to support the team in larger numbers than fans from their European opponents: Sweden, Spain, England, and the Netherlands. The only time American fans were outnumbered was for their quarterfinal match against France in Paris. Even then, about one-quarter to one-third of the stadium were Americans who would not be silenced.
The French can’t have been as pleased about this American invasion as they were in 1944. Some bars were overwhelmed by the Stars and Stripes, and at least one bar ran out of beer.
But they were gracious hosts. When the French team, widely considered the second-best in the tournament, lost to the U.S., French fans found it acceptable to lose to such a worthy opponent. For the final on July 7, many of the French fans in the stadium were ready to support their American invaders.