Axford rooting for Dutch in World Cup
MILWAUKEE — Even with the United States and Mexico eliminated, at least one person in the Brewers clubhouse still has a rooting interest in the World Cup.
Closer John Axford, a native of Ontario, Canada, is pulling for The Netherlands, which beat Slovakia, 2-1, on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals against Brazil.
Axford is of Dutch heritage on his mother’s side of the family, and his grandparents immigrated to Canada before she was born, just after World War II.
“I remember being younger, we’d always get together for the games and watch them because my grandfather was really into it,” Axford said. “If he had his way, I’d definitely play soccer over baseball.
“I played soccer in elementary school. He actually taught me to kick with my left foot before I could learn with my right because he said, ‘Everyone kicks with their right, so you’ll learn with your left first.'”
Axford said his mother was either the first or second member of her family born in Canada, though he could not remember if she or his uncle was born first.
While Axford has not been able to keep up on the World Cup as much as he would like — he did not watch The Netherlands play on Monday — he knows the excitement will only grow if they continue to advance in the tournament.
“It’s a pretty big thing with our family,” Axford said. “I know if they continue going through everyone will be calling each other and talking with each other and trying to catch the last couple games.”
And what does Axford think of The Netherlands’ chances against Brazil?
“That’s going to be pretty tough,” Axford said. “I saw part of the Brazil game today and they were doing pretty good. So it’ll be a tough game, but it should be a good game. Reading about it I think The Netherlands have got a pretty good shot.”
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter