Sinclair a world beater

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Quick, now, name a Canadian men's soccer player who strikes fear into the heart of an opponent.

Never mind.

You probably can't do it even if you are a soccer fan or one of the opponents.

Now try the same exercise with the women's team. Soccer fans know the name immediately. You can bet the house that every opposing player knows it.

"Christine Sinclair is one of the best players in the world," Canada's women's team coach, Carolina Morace, said. "She can be the best player in the world."

Sinclair has terrorized opposition defences for years.

But going into the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany, the scoring-machine is new and improved.

There's not as much ground and pound for Sinclair. Now she's quicker, more agile and a little slicker. She'll never float like a butterfly but she'll be more prepared to get a better chance to sting like a bee.

"Now," Morace said, "she plays more as a soccer player. I think people know that from China (the 2007 World Cup) to the CONCACAF tournament this year there is a change.

"Before, when she'd get the ball she passed immediately. Now she's not only a good scorer. She has more experience. She has more ... more ... feel to do what she wants. And she can still do more."

The career goal-scoring leader for the national team, Sinclair is what any successful team needs at a major tournament -- a player the opposition has to concentrate on.

Sinclair says holding the ball and taking on players is still "a work in progress."

"She (Morace) thinks I should be more aggressive, a little more selfish, and that's difficult for me to do," Sinclair said. "She wants me to be confident to take a player on and not worry, to know it's no big deal if I lose the ball."

There are times in soccer when selfish is good, especially when you have the ability and confidence to dominate an opponent.

One thing is certain, when Sinclair and the Canadian team plays Germany in the team's opener Sunday in front of 70,000 in Berlin, it will take all the confidence they have to survive the first 20 minutes.

"To play in front of that size of a crowd ... you can play all the international friendlies you want and can't duplicate what we're going to experience," Sinclair said. "The veterans on the team are going to have to settle the nerves of the younger players because they're going to play pivotal roles on our team at this World Cup.

"We can't have them being overwhelmed." Spoken like one of the best players in the world.

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