Northern Ontario fans gather to cheer on Canada (and Croatia) at the World Cup

Eight-year-old Tyson Little sat on the front row for Canada’s first goal at a Men’s World Cup.

He and his father Steven were wrapped in a flag in front of the big screen at Ukraine’s St Mary’s Church when Alphonso Davies found the back of the net early in Sunday’s game against Croatia.

“It was really exciting, it was a really good header. Everyone got up and started screaming,” said Tyson, who admitted to screaming “a little bit” at the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club viewer party.

“Yeah, he was pretty excited,” said Steven Little, who is originally from New Zealand and has only lived in Canada for five years.

“I jumped up and down like I was a Canadian. It is something special to watch them.”

Dozens watched the game at a viewer party organized by the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club at St Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. (Erik Weiss/CBC)

That early goal also caused great cheering from those brave enough to wear Canadian colors at the Croatian club in the Donovan area of ​​Sudbury.

“Woo! Our very first goal at the World Cup and many more to come!” said Dan Michaud, wearing a Canadian hockey jersey.

He said the main reason he went to the game was to offset the cheers of his pal Chris Bilyk, who is wearing a Croatia shirt.

People of different ages sit on blue chairs, clap and cheer
At least Canadian fans were able to celebrate the men’s first goal at a World Cup at a spectator party in Sudbury. (Erik Weiss/CBC)

“Obviously I’m torn because I’m 100 per cent Canadian, but here with all my friends in the Croatian hall I will definitely support the Croatians,” said Bilyk.

At 82, Jim McPherson estimates this will be “probably his last” World Championship.

Born in Scotland, he describes himself as a ‘Unification Croat’ having coached local Croatian football teams in Sudbury.

A man in a red and white checked jersey stands and cheers in a bar with a football on the television behind him.
John Katarincic stands and celebrates a Croatia goal in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Canada. (Erik Weiss/CBC)

“They are 100 percent loyal to their team,” he said.

The loudest cheer for Croatia came from John Katarincic, who took turns nervously covering his mouth with his hand, jumping up and yelling at the screen.

“I was a bit nervous at first, but then they got a little stronger,” said Katarincic, whose father is from Croatia but was born in Canada.

“I’m happy about both, I have Croatian roots and I still hope Canada goes through, but right now I really want Croatia,” he said.

While the defeat means Canada are stuck at the World Cup, the men’s national team still have one last chance to claim their first World Cup win against Morocco on Thursday.

Fans in a bar cheer, some raising their arms in the air
Canadian fans cheered as loudly as their Croatian rivals during the game at the Croatian Hall in Sudbury. (Erik Weiss/CBC)

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