World Cup fever is well on its way

World Cup fever is well on its way

Hundreds of people gathered at a Montreal bar on Sunday to cheer on the national soccer team against Croatia in the World Cup.

• Read more: Canada’s first goal at the World Cup

• Read more: World Cup: Canada humiliated and eliminated

Starting at 9 a.m., the beer flowed freely at the Le St-Laurent Frappé bar, which has become a favorite meeting point for supporters of the Canadian team.

“I didn’t expect so many people to come to the Canada tournament,” said company manager Lionel Palo. It’s now 11 o’clock and we’ve already sold a few kegs of beer! »

When the national anthem was played, about 200 people in the bar stood up to sing it together in French.

“When it comes to sports, there’s no more politics,” says Remy Martin of Montreal. The team includes players from across Canada, including a few Quebecers. It brings us all together! »

Electric before the game, the atmosphere went up a notch after the opening goal by Canadian Alphonso Davies. Supporters let their cheers explode.

Raising a historic goal

“It’s Canada’s first goal in World Cup history and it’s something very special,” said Sophie David, a lifelong soccer fan. It really impressed me at the time. »

This goal was not only celebrated in Montreal. Many fans from Quebec met at La Cage in the Lebourgneuf sector.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable to witness it. We were flipping out!” says Thomas Margot, who was with several friends.

In addition to soccer fans, a large number of lay people turned out to cheer on the Canadian team at Le Saint-Laurent Frapp Bar on Sunday.

“Basically I am interested in hockey, underlines Jean-Philippe Gauthier, who came with friends. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would come to a football match on Sunday morning, I would not have believed it! »

Faces grew longer after Croatia's first net.

Photo by QMI Agency, Mario Beauregard

Faces grew longer after Croatia’s first net.

However, the fans’ joy was short-lived as Canada lost 4-1 in the end.

Get fame

Canada’s game against Belgium last Wednesday was the second most-watched sporting event in Canada in 2022, drawing nearly 3.7 million viewers according to RDS, which will broadcast the event.

“A few years ago, it was unthinkable to see people gathered in a bar to cheer on the national soccer team,” says Pierre Maillhot, a fan of the game since the 80s. “For the 1986 World Cup, we had trouble watching the games. We’re still far from the popularity of TV hockey, but It is progressing.”

Frédéric Gauthier, 21, explains that soccer is as much a part of his DNA as hockey.

“Our generation is so obsessed with soccer,” explains the young man, who wore a maple leaf on his shoulder during the game. Partly because the next World Cup on Canadian soil will go a long way in popularizing the discipline in Quebec. »

– with Jeremy Bernier

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