Canada's Voyageurs keep the faith

Canada's diehard football fans 'The Voyageurs' are gathering in Edmonton for the U-20 national side's final Group A game against Congo on Sunday, hoping against hope that their heroes can keep the hosts in their own tournament.

Founded in 1996 via a website to encourage likeminded supporters to group together and get behind the Canadian team, The Voyageurs are a hardy bunch with a positive attitude but, after two defeats against Chile and Austria, they have had little to shout about at Canada 2007. met four of the faithful from four different provinces across the country to find out what their impressions of the tournament are and to ask just what it means to be a 'Voyageur', following a team from the second largest national land mass on the planet.

Sergio Teixeira, Edmonton, Alberta
"The whole country figured Canada would do a little bit better here. From a motivational point of view, I don't think they have played as hard as they could have done, especially when you think back to how well they played in the exhibition games against Brazil and Argentina. I thought we were right up there with them but at the same time I am just happy that we even have an Under-20 team in this city as well as the fact that we have this FIFA U-20 World Cup in the country to begin with. We have 32 million people in this country and they all love Canada, so we should in theory have 32 million Voyageurs. For me, it's like being in Alcoholics Anonymous, kinda like: 'Hi, I'm Sergio, and I'm a Voyageur!'"

Matthew Gourlie, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
"I came across for the last game in Edmonton and was planning to be at the first match in Toronto but unfortunately my best friend Jay got married that weekend. The travel is difficult because I'm from the middle of the country and not really close to any of the major centres so I have to go a pretty long distance to attend any games. It's fantastic to have this level of soccer on our television screens every day. Hopefully kids across the country are seeing these games and being inspired by it. As for the Canada team, I think nerves have been a factor. We have been really defensive and we haven't committed enough to the attack. We don't look comfortable and we are not expressing ourselves on the pitch - it seems to be more about trying not to make mistakes. I think we will do well to win our last match because Congo have been terribly unlucky in their two games. That said, I will follow Canada forever. You never really expect but you always have hope, right?"

Geoff Wallace, Victoria, British Columbia
"I hope the team shows a lot of heart against Congo. They need to tackle a lot more and the fact they have only had something like two shots on target is a little embarrassing. We rely a lot on Jaime Peters down the wings and we've only got four or five boys in the squad who are at a high level but I've seen this team play a lot better. I've been a Voyageur since the Gold Cup in 2000 when a friend told me about the website. I didn't realise there was this whole group of people all with the same goal and passion for following Canadian soccer."

Jordan Cave, Ottawa, Ontario
"I've been really disappointed with Canada because they are not playing to their potential. We've got some talented guys, but they are just not performing as well as they should have done. I can't single out one person because nobody has really shone out for me. Some have shown glimpses of what they can do but nobody has impressed me much. It would be nice for them to show the rest of the country that we can produce good soccer players. I want Canadians to know that you don't have to look back through your lineage to be a good soccer fan. I'm proud of the boys that are proud to play for Canada and I know this team is better than this. I became a Voyageur because I was doing all this research by myself and I found that there were all these other fans out there just as knowledgeable and interested as me. It's a lot of fun to be with them watching the game."