Deflecting attention

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

HANGZHOU, China -- Christine Sinclair seemed almost embarrassed to be the centre of attention after Canada scored more goals in a FIFA Women's World Cup game than ever before.

The 24-year-old international star gave you the impression she'd rather they'd picked one of the "kids" for the honour.

She'd just scored two goals to break the record for goals by a Canadian at the FIFA Women's World Cup in the 4-0 win over Ghana.

When Sinclair was asked about her two goals - that gave her a record five - she stuttered and stammered trying to find something to say.

"I didn't know that," she said of breaking Charmaine Hooper's four goals.

"Obviously, it's an honour. Mostly it shows the improvement of our team in the last four or five years.

"I guess it says that I've been part of that."

EYES LIT UP

But when asked about Canada's other two goals - the first two World Cup goals in the careers of Sophie Schmidt and Martina Franko - her eyes lit up.

"It's amazing to see someone score their first World Cup goal.

"There were such big smiles on their faces.

"It made me remember mine, in my first World Cup game against Germany four years ago. I know how I felt. It's such a dream come true.

"Candace Chapman scored her first World Cup goal in our first game. She's my roommate here. It's just so great to see that joy."

Franko said Sinclair's comments about her and Schmidt were so Christine.

"She's the most modest phenomenal player in the world. Off the field you'd never know she's one of the very best players in our game."

Schmidt, a Winnipeg-born midfielder, said Sinclair had it right. There was no describing the joy.

"It was just surreal," she said.

"To get to the World Cup and score a goal, you can't ask for anything more."

Schmidt's goal wasn't particularly pretty but it was pretty important in Canada's 4-0 win.

"It was half dive and half header. I made it look a little awkward. But it went in," she said of the second goal of the game, coming in the 55th minute to turn a bit of a nail-biter into a bit of a route.

Coach Even Pellerud said Sinclair simply played her usual game.

"She never plays a bad game anymore," he said.

Like Sinclair, he focused on a pair of other players instead.

"Sophie Schmidt and Tania Dennis were our two most important players," he declared of the midfielder and defender.

Of the two goal scorers, 20-year-old Schmidt and 21-year-old Squamish, B.C. product Franko, Pellerud said it "speaks well for the future."

Schmidt seemed stunned that her coach would say the things he said about her.

"It's quite a compliment," she said of the bench boss who throws them around like manhole covers.

This was a night to celebrate the young and the old.

It was 20-year-old Kara Lang who created both of Sinclair's goals.

"Kara's so dominating with her huge crosses. I just got on the end of them," said Canada's star striker of her running mate.

Sinclair wasn't the only player to set a national record in this game.

HOOPER'S RECORDS

When Pellerud put 35-year-old veteran Andrea Neil on the field for the final six minutes, she too broke a Charmaine Hooper record - one for most games played international for Canada.

It was her 131st cap.

Sinclair didn't know about her own stat, but she knew about that one.

"That's huge," she said.

"She's the heart and soul of this team and has been for so long. She just means everything to every player on this team."


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