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Toronto’s World Cup, Play by Play

It took 120+ minutes, a record 14 yellow cards, and 612 passes, but La Furia Roja have finally claimed their first ever World Cup title. The match, to be sure, lacked sparkle—both sides were underwhelmingly cautious, and there was a great deal of unnecessary aggression on the field—but in the end the better team won. Spain dominated both in terms of possession and in their style of play: their trademark fluid and nimble passing kept the Netherlands consistently on the defensive. (The Guardian has put together some neat graphics which do a great job of capturing the imbalance.)
And when the final whistle blew, thousands of Torontonians burst out into the streets to celebrate—some actually Spanish, and some who had adopted that country for cheering purposes. Jubilant crowds honked their car horns as loud as they could, wrapped themselves in flags, blew vuvuzelas until they were hoarse, and climbed on top of streetcars to express their joy. There were glum faces, too, as groups of orange-clad Netherlands fans made their much more dejected ways home.
It’s a rather remarkable thing, for a country that wasn’t fielding its own team in the tournament, and never seriously hoped to in the first place. Despite our own technical absence, we have taken the World Cup into our hearts—some because we’re immigrants from countries that are contenders, and some just because it’s fun—and we have the street party to prove it.

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