After Canada's hard-fought loss to Belgium during their opening game in the 2022 World Cup, the Canadian men say they are in the tournament to win as they prepare to face Croatia on Sunday.
"We can qualify," said Joel Waterman, the only national team player who was born, and grew up playing, in British Columbia.
"We know we can and that belief is here … We're going to do our absolute best to put in a good performance against Croatia, and this time come out on the right side."
In a World Cup that has featured major upsets, Canada, ranked 41st in the world, came close on Wednesday to walking away with points against No. 2-ranked Belgium.
Canada outshot Belgium 21-9, but only managed three shots on target — the same as the Belgians.
In the game's key moment, former Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies had his penalty shot saved.
With their attention on another European heavyweight on Sunday, B.C.'s Joel Waterman says the Canadian team can draw inspiration from their impressive opening game performance.
"It's not going to be easy," he said.
"Obviously, Croatia is going to have different tactics so we have to adjust in that way. But I think we saw that we proved ourselves on the world stage against one of the best teams in the world and we can do it again."
The Canadian men are at the bottom of Group F, the only team in the group yet to earn a point. To qualify to the knockout stage of the World Cup, Canada will need to pick up points in their next matches against No. 12 Croatia and No. 22 Morocco.
Waterman says the players are "feeling good" about their chances, and head coach John Herdman has expressed confidence in his players.
Immediately after Wednesday's loss to Belgium, Herdman shared part of a speech he gave to his players during the post-game huddle.
"I told them they belong here and we're going to go and eff— Croatia," he said with a smile in FIFA's official post-game pitchside interview.
"That's as simple as it gets."
Support from home
While the team hopes to make history by netting their first-ever World Cup goal against Croatia, Waterman says he is drawing inspiration from his roots.
"There's just so many things that were sacrificed for me to get in this position, like my parents driving me ... 45 minutes to training when I was younger," he said.
WATCH | B.C. parents thrilled to see son play in World Cup
Raised in Aldergrove, a community in the Township of Langley, Waterman grew up playing for soccer teams across the Lower Mainland, including Langley United and Surrey United SC.
Reflecting on his journey to the World Cup, Waterman says the support from his hometown is "incredible."
"It's an honour for me to represent the Lower Mainland … I want to represent B.C. and my message would be to stick with us," he said.
Canada's showdown against Croatia takes place Sunday at 8 a.m. PT.