May 24, 2024

Canada star Christine Sinclair’s scoring record in jeopardy due to injury

Canada captain Christine Sinclair’s quest to become the first player to score in six World Cups faces uncertainty.

The 40-year-old Sinclair was visibly limping late in Olympic champion Canada’s 2-1 comeback victory over Ireland in Perth at the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday night and needed treatment.

“I haven’t had a medical update yet,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said in her post-match news conference. “She looks like she was limping at the end there, so I’ll have to get an understanding of that and find out what comes next.”

Canada Soccer did not respond Thursday to requests for updates on Sinclair’s condition.

The Olympic champions need to be at full strength in what could be a Group B decider against tournament co-host Australia in Melbourne on Monday.

So far, the 2023 World Cup hasn’t seen the best of Sinclair, who missed a penalty kick in Canada’s opening 0-0 draw against Nigeria and was benched for the start of the Ireland game.

She entered the match against Ireland as a substitute — a first in her 23-year international career — going on after halftime with the game tied at 1-1. Adriana Leon scored Canada’s go-ahead goal early in the second half.

Sinclair had two shots on goal, in the 63rd and 67th minutes, but was unable to find the back of the net.

Her appearance off the bench came with fellow veterans Sophie Schmidt and Shelina Zadorsky, who combined to help Canada get reorganized and secure its first come-from-behind win in two decades at the World Cup.

Priestman said the veterans “bring that quality” when it’s sorely needed.

Sinclair’s role on the team has evolved, presenting her with new challenges and responsibilities.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from (Sinclair and Schmidt) is probably humility and just perseverance,” midfielder Simi Awujo said before the tournament. “They’re just great influences and great role models to have around.”

Against Nigeria, Sinclair’s 50th-minute penalty attempt was blocked by Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie with a one-handed, diving save. It was frustratingly close to a record.

Nobody, female or male, has scored in six World Cups.

Sinclair is competing with Brazilian great Marta to get there first. Brazil plays France in Brisbane on Saturday, giving Marta another chance to reach the milestone first. Both made their World Cup debuts in 2003 and have scored in every tournament since.

Sinclair is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer with 190 goals, and she’s looking to leave her mark on the biggest stage in women’s soccer.

“We still want Sinc on our team every single time,” Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan said.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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