MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of Minnesotans took part in Sunday’s FIFA World Cup in downtown Minneapolis at Brit’s Pub as they cheered and sighed when France beat Croatia 4-2 in the final game.

For soccer fans, this is the end of a month-long tournament, and people around the world were watching.

Though the game took place in Russia, it was personal for many Minnesotans.

“Allez” is “go” in French, and by 9 a.m., it was already go time at Brit’s Pub.

“We were at half capacity before the game started,” said Joe Okell, who works in management at the pub. “The line when we opened this morning, (it just kept getting crazier and crazier).”

Teenager Jane Krsnik waited until halftime to get inside, and for a very good reason.

“I’m Croatian,” Krsnik said. “My Dad is from Croatia.”

A fan from south Minneapolis said she and her fiance painted their faces red, white and blue in allegiance to France.

“I am French, and I’ve been waiting on this for 20 years and I’m pretty excited,” she said.

Fan Khalid Yousif sat on the lawn at Brit’s in his jersey.

“I really think we’ve seen an increase in people aware more about soccer because of the (Minnesota) United becoming part of the MLS and building the stadium and everything,” Yousif said. “It’s exciting for soccer fans here in the Twin Cities.”

And he’s right. Saturday night’s Minnesota United game had the biggest attendance of the season when 23,000 people showed up.

Yousif’s nephews joined him to cheer during the game.

“Oh, amazing,” said nephew Mohomud Banaga. “I actually love soccer. I really want to play soccer.”

It’s a game that clearly has the world’s attention.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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