(Above - Lionesses fans in Nice)
As a regular on the FSA's Free Lions team England fan Thomas Smith knows a thing or two about how to enjoy a tournament. This time he's out in France for the Women's World Cup and he has a few words of wisdom...
Whether you are coming out to the Women’s World Cup for the first time or have been to a match before, we believe it is important fans are clued up to make their tournament experience a positive one.
Therefore, we have compiled a small list of things we believe to be useful pointers to make your time in France a memorable one for all the right reasons.
With Visa being a tournament sponsor the financial giant has a monopoly over cashless transactions inside the stadium and at any other Fifa held events. Therefore any payments made on plastic have to be from a Visa card, or you need to use cash.
You can alternatively top up a Visa card to be used during the tournament, but this is another thing to consider at the stadium, whereas cash points are readily available in host cities.
Get the shuttle bus
You might be able to pick up a reasonably priced Uber towards the stadium, but with large cordons in place around the World Cup venues these are unlikely to be able to drop you within a reasonable walking distance.
Instead, the shuttle buses (unless you’re a VIP) will drop you within walking distance of the first security checks and subsequent turnstiles. They are also FREE.
Leave bags at home
Official guidance is that no bags will be permitted into stadia, but rules seem to have been lapsed with smaller bags allowed through and even some rucksacks.
That being said, the severity of which the security restrictions are imposed has varied across France. Therefore, where possible we would advise only bringing essential items to the matches and avoid bags unless absolutely necessary.
Wear comfortable footwear
Although the walk to most grounds from transport drop-off points is comfortable, you could be required to stand on the aforementioned shuttle buses or wait patiently for some time at the entry checkpoints to the stadiums.
Therefore wearing some comfortable footwear wouldn’t go amiss. We can’t say exactly what is comfortable, that’s down to personal preference, but you’ll thank us later.
Eat and drink beforehand
There is a selection of refreshments available in and around the stadiums, with the lower than expected attendances meaning queues for these have been relatively painless.
However, as the tournament goes on you can expect these queues to lengthen. Also, as some of you will have experienced, what’s on offer is little more than expensive sustenance. We’d advise fuelling up beforehand, it’ll save you time and certainly money.
Plan your day
Having spent some serious time and money making your way out to France, the last thing you want to do is to miss any of the action on the pitch.
Often the stadium’s are out of town, or at least away from the main amenities each host city has to offer. So plan where you want to be and when, and if you’re unsure on anything please come and visit us at our Free Lionesses Fan Embassy.
Talk to people
When it comes to tournament football a lot of people are in the same boat; travelling round a different country with only a small amount of local knowledge.
Therefore, what we’ve found is that fans are often able and almost always willing to help one another. This could extend to a lift across France, or even just be details on which bus to take to the airport.
A World Cup should be enjoyed, so be sure to have fun. A major tournament doesn’t come along like London buses and certainly not one where England are in with a genuine chance.
- Follow Free Lionesses on Twitter @freelionesses