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Local fan support strong for Canada's World Cup start

Fans upbeat despite Canada losing World Cup opener against Belgium , 1-0

Fans watching the World Cup around Burlington remained upbeat yesterday (Nov. 23) despite Canada suffering a defeat in the opening match against Belgium.

The Canadian squad led by coach John Herdman played a determined 95 minutes of soccer but were unable to match Belgium's one goal from Michy Batshuayi, despite a number of late second-half scoring drives.

But it was a strong opener for the 41st ranked squad, which qualified for the month-long tournament for the first time in 36 years. Belgium entered the 32-team World Cup ranked second in the world.

Belgium's coach Roberto Martinez praised Canada's effort, saying it was a difficult match for his players. "Canada were better than us in doing what they wanted to do," he told RTE Sport. "They were very clear in what they wanted to do. They come to the tournament with an incredible celebration, great emotion, what we expected. This Canada team, they have got a lot of pace."

In a standing room-only sea of red and white at one of the official fan club viewing venues yesterday, the mood among supporters was boisterous and Canada was cheered heartily despite the loss.

The men's national team will have another opportunity to score their elusive, first-ever goal in World Cup play on Sunday in a highly anticipated match with Croatia.

Croatia battled to a nil-nil draw against Morocco in their opening match yesterday.

Belgium's win pushed them to the top of Group F. They next face Morocco on Sunday.

Kick-off for the Canada-Croatia game is 11 a.m.

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Tania Theriault

About the Author: Tania Theriault

Tania is a print and broadcast journalist with over 15 years experience who has recently returned to Canada and is keen to learn all there is to know about Burlington and its welcoming people
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