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Editorial: FIFA scores a win during Victoria stay

In a matter of hours, the soccer world will have waved goodbye to Victoria. Tonight's match between the Czech Republic and Japan will mark the end of what has turned out to be a tremendously successful World Cup event.

In a matter of hours, the soccer world will have waved goodbye to Victoria. Tonight's match between the Czech Republic and Japan will mark the end of what has turned out to be a tremendously successful World Cup event.

Local fans -- and some people just discovering the world's most popular game -- have seen some of the best young players anywhere perform with passion, skill and sportsmanship.

Visitors, including the young players, have experienced both the region's splendour and the warmth of our welcome.

An audience of millions around the world has had a chance to see what Vancouver Island has to offer.

And we've all been reminded once again of how much these kinds of events -- from arts festivals to sports tournaments -- enrich life in our community, bringing people together in shared celebrations.

That is probably the greatest benefit of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. It's been a tough summer for public celebrations in Victoria, with too many festivals and events going dark. The soccer has been a welcome bright spot, one that reminds us of the community-building importance of these kind of events.

Despite some opening-day bumps, the tournament has been a great success.

The 11,400 seats at Royal Athletic Park have been filled with cheering, enthusiastic spectators and the players and their visiting supporters have brought life to the downtown.

That's a tremendous tribute to the team that persuaded FIFA to award the games to Victoria and the hundreds of volunteers who did so much to make them a success.

We can all celebrate their efforts, and offer our genuine thanks, as our portion of the World Cup winds down tonight.