TVs were blaring in homes and businesses across the Peninsula Wednesday, as Canada’s men’s team played in its first World Cup game in 36 years.
Despite mostly dictating play the entire game, the 41st-ranked Canadian team lost 1-0 to the number 2-ranked Belgium, struggling to convert on 22 shots on goal.
In the 10th minute, Canada had a huge opportunity to score a goal and take the lead on a penalty shot by Alphonso Davies, only to see Belgian scorekeeper Thibaut Courtois stop the attempt.
Retired White Rock resident John Colton was watching with his friends at Sawbucks Neighbourhood Pub Wednesday, enjoying the game in the busy pub, packed with plenty of red Canadian jerseys.
“Canada’s looking really good right now – I think we’re going upset these guys,” he said, after 25 minutes of play.
“We’ll make it past this round. It’s going to happen.”
At a neighbouring table, Emilio Chiarizia and Jeff Pearson were equally hopeful.
“I had shivers when I saw the Canadian flag up there,” Chiarizia said.
When Belgium scored, a collective groan rose in unison from the gathered crowd.
At Leon’s Café just up the road, there were plenty of Canadian fans watching the game, but owner Frederic Horry, who moved to B.C. from Belgium in 1995, and son Louis-André were cheering for their native Belgium.
At a café that specializes in Belgian waffles, sandwiches and a menu featuring Belgian cheeses and chocolates, Horry noted that despite Belgium’s goal, “Canada is playing better so far. They’ve just been unlucky.”
Louis-André was passionate about his team winning.
“I’m half Belgian and half Mexican, so I’ve been cheering for Belgium since I was little,” he said.
“I want Belgium to win. If Canada wins this game, Belgium better win next.”
The next World Cup game Canada plays is at 8 a.m. Sunday against 12th-ranked Croatia.