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Qatar World Cup once-in-a-lifetime experience for football fans

Fans had more opportunities than ever before to attend multiple matches
Cache Creek’s David Dubois (r) with Larry Zuma of Edmonton, who has been with him at all three of Canada’s matches at the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo credit: David Dubois)

By David Dubois

Well, another week has come and gone, and so has Canada’s men’s soccer team.

It was another great battle with the Morocco team. A couple of simple mistakes early on led to us being in a hole we just could not get out of. The Morocco fans were the most over-the-top ones to date. The sound of 15 to 20 thousand people using whistles at once is deafening. It became pretty evident that there was no way we Canadians could drown them out, so instead we needed to use our voices strategically. In the end it was not enough, and we lost.

As we look back over this World Cup there are a number of things that stood out for me. The first is that Canada deserved to be here. We were not blown out or completely destroyed. Our team needs experience now at higher levels that are perhaps not available in our region (CONCACAF), so we need to look at playing more top European and South American teams.

When I look at the rosters of the better teams, including the three we lost to, we see that the majority of the players are playing in the top European leagues. After the World Cup, two Canadian players signed deals in England. I think this shows we are getting better at developing players, but we need to do a bit more.

When looking at specific statistics, Canada was consistently in the middle of the upper tier in things like expected goals. Finally, I am very proud of the players, their commitment, and their contributions to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have met many fantastic Canadian fans, as well as those from other countries. I am really looking forward to 2026.

Overall, I think the World Cup in Qatar is one that will never be replicated. The ability to attend so many games so readily is not likely to happen again. My roommate, who had attended five World Cups previously, typically is able to go to three or four games.

By the time I get home I will have gone to eight games, with very little effort. People are trying to set world records by attending 30+ games, which is incredible.

As I look forward to the 2026 World Cup in North America, I am hopeful that I will be able to see a number of games in Vancouver and maybe Seattle. I am also very confident that the Canadian men’s team will continue to grow and do better.

And while the experience will be great, it will not match the diversity and density of fans in a single area that has been one of the biggest successes of this World Cup.

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