By Rowena Papasin, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau
VANCOUVER, Canada – A sea of red and white flooded BC Place and the Vancouver Fan Zone as Canadians came in droves to support the country’s women’s soccer team.
The fan zone alone expected some 10,000 fans while BC Place sold more than 50,000 tickets.
“Everybody has their Canada gear on, not just red gear, but Canada gear, and so it’s a legacy for the city to make sure that we all celebrate it,” said Sports Hosting Manager Michelle Colens. “Some of the best female athletes in the world are here playing before us and to get behind it, you know, the city felt was really important to be able to celebrate whether you’re inside the stadium or outside the stadium.”
Even the former national team members from the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, when Canada first joined, were there to support the team.
Charmaine Hooper considered a legend in Canadian women’s soccer says despite the dominance of other countries in soccer there is now a more level playing field.
“There’s so much more parity today in women’s soccer,” said Hooper. “The teams that were the definite strong teams in the past are no longer the definite strong teams. You know, I think Germany has a really good chance at being one of those top teams but again, it could be anybody’s game.”
While fans awaited the match, various activities were also lined up at the fan zone.
Among the volunteers is Filipino-Canadian teen Jero Abad who has been helping kids play on their own field these last three weeks.
“I like how Canada has brought together a bunch of cultures and we can all just join together and have fun playing the game of soccer,” said Abad.
When the game finally started fans broke into thunderous applause as they watched the unfolding match.
No one scored during the first half but Canada scored their game-winning goal on the 52nd minute.
The team effectively blocked Switzerland’s attempts until the time ran out.
Vancouver erupted in cheers after Canada defeated Switzerland to make it to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals. They will next be squaring off, either with Norway or with England.
The championship match will be held within the next two weeks.