Critchlow and family take in World Cup in Brazil


By: Lanny Stewart

The World Cup, considered the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, is currently taking place in Brazil and a local family were able to take in some of the soccer action recently.

Kaiten Critchlow, a Neepawa resident, along with a friend and some of his family members, recently travelled to the largest country in South America for what was a 10-day excursion June 14-24, which included stops in Natal, Fort Aleza and Sao Paulo Brazil and three World Cup matches.

“To be honest when I was in Brazil, it didn’t hit me until we went into the stadium that I was at the World Cup,” said Critchlow, an avid soccer enthusiast in the area. “When we entered the stadium and I looked around, the music is blaring and everyone is in there, it was almost emotional. It was amazing for me for someone who loves soccer so much.”

Critchlow says the family always wanted to do a lengthy trip – and considering all who travelled south were soccer fans – an adventure to Brazil made a ton of sense. One of the games Critchlow and his group attended was the USA versus Ghana matchup on Monday, June 16. The contest included the fifth quickest goal ever scored in World Cup history as Clint Dempsey of the USA netted a tally just 29 seconds into the contest.

“The goal was scored so quick you didn’t even know what happened to be honest,” said Critchlow with a smile. 

The crew also took in the Japan versus Greece game on Thursday, June 19 as well as the Ghana versus Germany contest on Saturday, June 21. For two of the three games, Critchlow and his crew were really close to the action. 

“We were really fortunate because for one game we were third row from the ground and another one, we were right behind the Ghana bench,” he said.

He says during the two games that involved the Ghana team, fans of the club were standing, dancing and cheering for the entire match. 

“I’m pretty sure they had twice as many fans in that section as they were supposed to have,” he added with a smile. “The atmosphere was incredible. I’ve never been to any sporting event that’s had such a crazy atmosphere, especially when there are goals scored. Everyone went crazy.” 

Critchlow says when you’re at the stadium watching the games live, there are two things that you notice fairly quickly that you aren’t able to when watching soccer games on television.

“The first thing is, especially for people who are big into soccer, is the tactical play of it,” he said. “Because on TV, it just focuses on the play, but when you’re there you can see everybody moving and repositioning. How they’re adapting. Soccer is more than just where the ball is. 

“The second thing is, the TV doesn’t give justice to their [players] touch on the ball,” he continued. “Their first touch, second touch. The little things that they’re doing with the ball. When you’re there live and can see what’s actually being done with their feet. It’s just phenomenal.” 

Critchlow says they also attended a World Cup fan fest, which had thousands of fans and a large screen, which showed the World Cup games live to the fans in attendance. 

In photo: Kaiten Critchlow (second from right with white shirt) with his crew in Brazil during the World Cup. 

Photo submitted