While the Matildas campaign at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup was cut short their support base is still out and about in Lyon.
I caught up with part of this support base, seven Sydney siders going by the name ‘The Croissants’ and who have gained a fair bit of fame through their game day costumes and branded pastry merchandise.
Lucy Friend, Libby Graham, Lucy Gilfedder, Ciara O’Sullivan, Amanda Skellern, Kimberley Skellern and Maddie Bart have all been involved in the game since they were five and were happy to share their experiences of being a Matildas supporter at this World Cup.
“I feel like the Australian fans have been really united, if you see someone else in an Australian jersey immediately you have a connection. Even this morning we were walking down the streets in these and everyone was looking at us, people would just yell at us, Aussie Aussie Aussie and we’d reply back.”
With five full-time jobs and two full-time university course loads, the girls were unable to make it to France for the Group Stage, instead arriving in Nice on the day of the Matildas clash with Norway.
“We couldn’t come any earlier and once we saw what draw they were in we thought, ok they’re going to finish either first or second. We were pretty confident they could get to the semis and I think a part of us thought they could win- Obviously it didn’t pan out like that.”
Despite the disappointment of an early exit The Croissants joke that the Matildas did them a favour as they weren’t sure they would have been able to survive any more games if they were as stressful as the one in Nice.
“We flew in that day, landed at 1.30pm, got our costumes on, ran to the bar and went straight to the game. We were so tired and emotional, just wrecks, if we had more of those some of us would have had heart attacks so credit to them for putting our health first.”
While the girls have been wearing their Matildas jerseys all over the streets of Lyon they’ve adopted different teams for each of the matches they’ve been to.
“I think we always pick a team and work around what we can do. We’re trying not to go for the same team twice but now moving into the finals there’s quite a division with who people want [to support]. However we do love an underdog as a group and we really like the Netherlands because their fans are just super supportive, like they really got around us.”
It’s easy for supporters to get around this group as their passion for women’s football has seemed them dressed up as pasta, complete with faux meatballs in their hair, to support Italy and the statue of liberty to see the USA over the line against England.
As much as the costumes change, the main brand of the croissants remains constant and isn’t about to change anytime soon.
“100%, yes we will, it’s branding, we’re an enterprise now. We’ve made a name for ourselves. When we walk into the Aussie bars and stuff at the different locations.”
These fans won’t have to wait long as the Croissants are already eying off their next adventure, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Prepare for anything from sushi rolls to Olympics rings all topped with the signature Croissant hats.
“The hats are very important- sun safety it’s no joke.”
You can follow the their adventures via Instagram @croissants_on_tour.