Although I still owe a part two to the Vienna two-parter, I thought that it would only be fitting to do post of the US v. Chile game on the eve of the final game of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. It has been a bucket list item for both of us to see a World Cup game, so getting into at least one of the matches of the Women’s World Cup was a top priority for our year in Switzerland. We wanted to see all the US group games, but who has time for that?
We had our pick of games and locations, but the US v. Chile game in Paris was the only of the US group games that was conveniently on a weekend. It didn’t hurt that Paris is only a 3 hour train ride away from Basel. We had to buy our tickets as part of a package of three group games in Paris. Unfortunately, only one of the games was on a weekend. We still were able to get ridiculously good seats (TV level) for three games for about 100 Euro each (total). It was significantly cheaper than either of us expected to pay for bad seats for one let alone three World Cup games. I’m not going to complain about affordable tickets, but I would have been happy to pay more if it means that the women’s teams don’t get vastly less money than the men’s teams.
Rant aside, the logistics of getting to and from the game were also interesting. For a number of reasons, the biggest of which were the strange logistics of a Sunday evening game when the last train to Basel leaves before 8:30 pm, we did not spend the whole weekend in Paris. It meant that we couldn’t really stay at a hotel in Paris without having an awkward luggage storage situation (or not coming into work until late morning on Monday). What we ended up with was this strange concoction of a plan where we got a hotel in Strasbourg, stopped their to leave our bag there, got onto another train to Paris and did the same on the way back. We spent a lot of time on trains that day.
From Gare D’Est, it’s still a pretty long Metro ride to the stadium (~30-40 minutes). We knew we were going the right way, however, because the trains were packed with people in red, white and blue. The costume game was pretty good.
The walk from the Metro station to the stadium was equally entertaining, as we walked through hoards of people chanting “USA! USA!” and all the other standard soccer chants. I may have missed the last two Independence Day in the US, but I got plenty of US spirit during the game.
The line to get in wasn’t that long and it got us into the stadium with almost two hours to spare. We spent almost all of that time just waiting in the line to get USWNT and Women’s World Cup merchandise. We needed the World Cup scarves to add to our ridiculous soccer scarf collection and I was starting to get very afraid that we would get to the front of the line and they’d be out of the scarves.
After spending throwing money at merchandise and a quick stadium food dinner (surprisingly cheap for stadium food…or I’m too used to Swiss prices), we finally got to our seats and proceeded to take a ridiculous amount of photos of ourselves in the front of the field. We also watched the teams warm up too, I guess.
Anyway, I was supposed to dress up as Alexander Hamilton for this game and even bought a tricorner hat for it. Unfortunately, it was something I had to drop when we realized how difficult the logistics of just getting to the stadium would be. But while I “settled” for a US jersey, this did not stop me from having my Hamilton moment.
I should add that while this game was before the bad heat wave hit, it was still ridiculously hot and sunny in the stadium and there was little shade. Even though I was constantly applying more sunscreen throughout the game, I am still somewhat surprised I didn’t get a sunburn that evening.
But enough of that. The game was awesome. They say there were more people in attendance at this game than there were at the home opener between France and South Korea (a heartbreaking game for me). The crowd was electric and there were fans for both teams going nuts throughout the game.
Now, we didn’t get the famous 13-0 game against Thailand and had to manage with only three US goals during our game, but I think we survived. We got to see Carli Lloyd score a goal (and a miss a penalty), the first of which was a pretty big highlight. I know Ellis was resting the “A Team,” but I am a little sad I didn’t see Rapinoe or Morgan play. It was still awesome.
Also, even though the US scored three goals, the Chilean goalie was crazy good. There could have easily been one or two other goals that night.
Oh, also, thanks to a lot of digilience from family back home, we were spotted on TV. We’re the ones in the blue hats next to the black bar.
After the game, we rushed to the Metro station to (unsuccessfully) beat the crowds. Somehow, we managed to get to Gare d’Est awkwardly early for our train to Strasbourg so a lot of the rushing was for nothing.
The train ride to Strasbourg was uneventful (much better than the last time the two of us took a train in that direction), but exhausting. We didn’t get to town until almost midnight and crashed almost immediately. It was a long day.
So, we finally knocked a World Cup game off of our bucket list, but I’m pretty sure this won’t be our last. As they’ll be playing in US/Canada/Mexico in 2026, we’re definitely going to be trying to get into at least one of the US games.
We had thought about trying to get to Lyon to watch one of the two semifinals but hesitated a little too long and they were sold out. I think it worked out in the end, though, because the itinerary we had planned to make that work would have been a headache. Besides, we got to hang out in Milan and still watched the games, so it worked out in the end.
But, most importantly, best of luck to the USWNT!