England keeper Jordan Pickford stops Colombia's Carlos Bacca in the penalty shootout, setting up Eric Dier's winning goal. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

World Cup: Who are Canadians cheering for?

Canada is not in the World Cup and hasn’t been since a brief appearance and early exit in1986 after playing three games and not scoring a goal.

So who do Canadians cheers for in this World Cup?

Being a multi-cultural country, each of the 32 original teams had a percentage of Canadians cheering for them whether at bars, social clubs, or family living rooms.

Switzerland’s Steven Zuber headed in the tying goal in a 1-1 draw with Brazil at the World Cup. Brazil is a top favourite for Canadian fans, behind England. (Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press)

A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute shows that of the teams still in play, some 18 per cent of Canadians who are watching the Cup are rooting for England, 12 per cent for Brazil, seven per cent for France, and diminishing percentages for others.

Interestingly, occupying the number two spot just after England some 16 per cent, one in six Canadian viewers say they’re not rooting for any particular team.

(Angus Reid Institute)

Some 16 per cent of Canadians following the fixtures had been cheering for Portugal before it had lost in the round of 16, while 12 per cent had been cheering for Germany, and 8 per cent for Spain.

But, when we say “are following the games”, how many does that mean?

Earlier polls showed 58 per cent of Canadians followed the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, while 61 per cent had followed the Summer Olympics in Rio.  However, only 37 per cent of Canadians are closely (12%) or intermittently (25%) following the matches, while an almost equal number (36 %) say they’re not interested at all.

(Angus Reid Institute)

About 33 per cent say however they would be watching more games if the time zones were more closely aligned with theirs.

Canada to co-host 2026 World Cup

With the recent announcement that Canada, along with the U.S. and Mexico will co-host the 2026 event, Canadian interest will increase with 46 per cent saying they will be interested.

Canadian cities of Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal are expected to host the ten games in Canada. Vancouver which had been expected to be a venue has bowed out saying they could not get a figure from FIFA as to the cost of hosting events

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