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Soccer fans stoked after Canadian Men’s strong showing



Soccer fans stoked after Canadian Men’s strong showing

Canada has a group of new sports heroes and they wear soccer cleats, not skates.


Several million Canadian sports fans were tuned in late Tuesday evening to watch Canada’s men’s soccer team take on Argentina, the defending World Cup champions and the No. 1 ranked team in the world, in the semi-finals of the COPA-America championships.

Although Team Canada fell 2-0 against Lionel Messi, who is considered by the majority of pundits to be the greatest soccer player to ever live, the Canadian squad did themselves proud throughout the COPA-American championship tournament.

After losing to Argentina by the same 2-0 score in their first game, they rebounded with a thrilling 1-0 win over Peru. They then held Chile to a scoreless draw, which moved them into the knockout stage of the tournament.

Last Friday night, the men’s team achieved arguably its biggest victory in its long history, winning a shootout victory over Venezuela to advance to the final four and Tuesday’s return matchup against Argentina.

In a hard-fought match, Argentina scored early in the first half to lead 1-0 after the opening 45 minutes. Canada carried play over the opening 10 minutes and missed a couple of solid scoring chances.

Messi’s goal early in the second half gave Argentina a 2-0 lead and the world’s No. 1 ranked team showed their class the rest of the way.

However, Canada never gave up and had a couple of glorious scoring chances in the final 10 minutes and would have made things very interesting had they closed the gap to a single goal in the final minutes.

For Drew Polley, who watched the game from the Copper Mug pub in Penticton, he couldn’t be prouder of the effort turned in by Team Canada.

“I’m very proud of the boys,” he said. “They definitely stepped up and played a lot better than I thought they would. I knew they would be in very tough against Argentina, who are the best team in the world right now.

“They gave it their all and that’s all you can ask and hope for. They’ve got a brand new coach (Jesse Marsch, who was hired less than two months ago), so hopefully over the next couple of years they’ll continue to climb the ladder.”

Canada, along with the United States and Mexico, will be co-hosting the World Cup in 2026, with Vancouver hosting two preliminary round games featuring Team Canada.

The national men’s team had struggled for decades before turning things around over the past five years under the tutelage of former Canadian women’s team coach John Herdman.

Herdman was Canada’s national women’s team coach when they won two bronze medals in the Olympics in 2016 and 2012. Bev Priestman took over and led Canada to a gold medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics.


Qualifying for last year’s World Cup and now advancing to the final four of a major international tournament like COPA-America is a clear sign Canada is gaining  a lot of respect on the world stage, said Polley.

His best friend is British and lives in Vancouver and has promised him he’ll be getting  him a ticket to at least one of the World Cup games in Vancouver in two years.

“My best friend is an avid soccer fan, so he’s promised me a ticket and we’re going to be at least one of the games,” he said. “That will be a bucket list experience for me for sure.

“Team Canada has a lot of really good up-and-coming young players, so the future looks very bright. Even though things didn’t go our way tonight, the future looks very bright.”

Canada will be playing in the third-place game at COPA-America on Saturday evening against the loser of Wednesday’s semi-final between Colombia and Uruguay.

Winning a bronze medal at this level would be incredible and arguably the greatest achievement ever in Canadian men’s soccer, said Polley.

Polley loves the fact this men’s team plays with confidence and never quits.
“They’re like Canadian hockey players in that they just keep attacking,” he said. “They don’t sit back like they did for so many years hoping not to get scored on. Now they attack and play to win. I love it.”

Polley admits he never thought he would see the day when millions of Canadians would watch and cheer on Team Canada on the world stage.

“A lot of people are definitely on board and that’s only going to grow as we approach the World Cup in 2026.”

Brandon and Mariane Frizzi and their good friends Mike and Darlene Geary also took in Tuesday’s match at the Copper Mug.

While disappointed with the result, Brandon Frizzi said he couldn’t be prouder of Team Canada’s effort.

“I thought we played very well and never gave up,” said Brandon Frizzi. “To be honest, I thought the referees were horrible tonight and really did tip the game in favour of Argentina. I think Canada did a really good job and competed very well.”


Frizzi said he and his wife and the Geary’s will be in Vancouver for at least one World Cup game in 2026.

“We’re absolutely going to be there,” he said. “We can’t wait to be there for that. All four of us are really diehard soccer fans. Watching this team work so hard and get such great results has been so exciting.”

Frizzi said he’s already planning to take vacation time to travel to Vancouver for the World Cup two years down the road.

Geary attended the World Cup in 1982 in Spain and said he’s already counting down the days to watch the world’s biggest sporting event here in Canada.

He believes this version of Team Canada is only going to get better and will surprise many in 2026.

“They went down fighting tonight and that’s all you can ask for,” he said. “Having this kind of success in such a big tournament is going to give them a lot more confidence heading into the World Cup.”

All four plan on cheering on Team Canada in the third place game Saturday evening.

They will again be joined by millions of Canadians across the country.

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