When referee Janny Sikazwe sent Canada – Belgium to the history books, a wave of joy swept through the country in addition to relief. A little more subdued, but therefore no longer sincere, Yannick Hendrikx and Carolina Van Thillo celebrated the victory. The Antwerp couple has been living together in Vancouver since last year and followed the match in a local bar. “Football remains a secondary sport here, but it is surprising how many people fanatically supported it”
The American on Main Street in Vancouver. The name suggests the opposite, but when the Canadians start their second world championship at 11 am local time, the pub is packed with football fans. “That is not common in Canada, where football is still a secondary sport. The World Cup is not really alive here. We hardly see people in Canadian outfits on the street,” says Yannick Hendrikx (29) from Deurne.
Yannick followed the match with his girlfriend Carolina Van Thillo (25) from Kalmthout. The couple has been living together in the metropolis since last year. “I went to film school two years ago, Yannick came here a year later,” says Carolina. “In times of a major tournament, we do miss the Belgian atmosphere. Although it is apparently a bit less this year, it is still nicer to sit among compatriots than here in the pub with Canadians.”
A feeling that was probably reinforced when Michy Batshuayi put the Devils ahead. “Get out of here!” a Canadian hothead snapped at the couple as they celebrated understated after the opening goal. “We were surprised that suddenly a lot of people fanatically started supporting. They became frustrated because they realized that Canada was dominant,” says Yannick.
“After the final whistle, the supporters were still relatively satisfied,” adds Carolina. “She played a great match against the Belgians, the number two in the FIFA ranking. But whether Canadians will watch the World Cup en masse is unlikely. We will continue to follow anyway. Most likely we will also support the Canucks”, Yannick laughs.
Martinez at fault
When the couple switches against Morocco on Sunday, they want to see more of the Belgians. “I look back with disappointment on this pot. In my eyes, Martinez started with the wrong eleven for the umpteenth time. Trossard and Onana deserve a starting spot. The first half was horrible and the second half was still nothing to write home about. We will survive the group, but if we then hit a top country, I would like to see it again”, Yannick concludes. (lava)