The Full 90

Scenes from a watch party: Chapitre Sept

Despite planning watch parties for all of France's World Cup games, would Le Fou Frog be open on Tuesday?

Forget all the off-the-field troubles for the team -- the French had little chance of advancement, even if it beat South Africa. I didn't expect anyone to show.

"We didn't think so either," said Barbara Rafael, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Mano.

He's French and an ardent supporter of the team, although you wouldn't have known it in the first half when South Africa jumped to a 2-0 lead.

"Le français de perdant," he said to the dozen fans, who groaned through a first half that saw a French player receive a red card in addition to the pair of South African goals.

Then Mano added the translation: "The loser French."

But not everyone had given up hope. Youthful optimism was on full display as 9-year-old Grace O'Rourke believed France could come back and win the game.

O'Rourke, who was at the party with her father was wearing a Zinedine Zidane jersey and said she never thought twice about not watching the game.

"I've got to support my team," she said.

There were different inducements for other fans, like the breakfast of croissants and coffee.

"I've never turned down a croissant," said Margaret Caswell, "and Carol never turned down a soccer game."

That would be Carol Zagorniak, who has been a soccer fan for years. She even recalled watching Pele play in Kansas City back when the Spurs were in the North American Soccer League.

So there was a nice mix of young and old watching the French. Just what age are Margaret and Carol?

"I'm two years older than God," Margaret quipped.

While France didn't play well, it was entertaining to watch Mano throw his hands up in disgust, groan and say a few choice words to the television.

But not everyone was unhappy. A little football, a cup of coffee and a croissant. There are worse ways to spend a morning.

"We just thought it would be fun to come to Le Fou Frog to watch the game," Margaret said, "and it was."

Even if the result didn't go France's way.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com

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