FIFA World Cup: Canadians ready for 1st game against Belgium

WATCH: Canada’s World Cup Journey Begins

As they waited for kickoff in Canada’s first World Cup appearance since 1986, fans at a Montreal pub said they were excited to cheer on their national team.

For some, seeing Team Canada play its first game in the tournament Wednesday has been something they’ve been waiting for their entire lives.

Morgan Stacey, 28, who was getting ready to watch the game at the Burgundy Lion Pub, said it feels “pretty incredible” to cheer on Team Canada. “It’s the first time in my life that I have ever gotten to see them compete in this tournament,” he said. “I’m pretty excited!”

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Stacey was among at least 150 people getting ready to watch the game at the pub, one of many watch parties scheduled to take place across the country as Canada and Belgium square off this afternoon.

“We have been waiting for this day for so long,” said Tristan Scandar, 23, who travelled to cheer on the Canadian team in person at a qualifying match against Honduras. “A lot of Canadians have been waiting for a long time. So, let’s hope we do well today.”

But for some fans, including members of Montreal’s large Belgian community, there were divided loyalties.

Noel Fourcroy, 42, a Belgian who has lived in Montreal for 15 years, said he will be rooting for his home country today.

“I’m pretty excited. It’s a very unique moment because it’s my country of origin and my country of adoption. It’s a curious melange. I confess I stay with Belgium today, but I will be very happy to follow Canada after,” Fourcroy said.

Canada’s side is entering Wednesday’s game in Qatar as the overwhelming underdog. But they received good news on Tuesday when it was revealed that winger Alphonso Davies – the team’s most dangerous player – has recovered from a hamstring injury and was declared fit to play.

Belgium is currently favoured to win Group F, which also includes 2018 finalist Croatia and Morocco, ranked 22nd in the world.

Belgium, however, will be without its star striker Romelu Lukaku, who hasn’t played a match in nearly a month because of a thigh injury.

Canada is ranked 41st in FIFA standings while Belgium is second.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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