Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Perhaps by now you have tired of Christine Sinclair's nose.

But this is the women's World Cup, what takes place Thursday in Bochum is a pivotal match for Canada's team, and the shattered schnoz involved belongs to a player her head coach, Carolina Morace, suggested Wednesday may be the very best in the world.

If Lionel Messi was suffering from an ingrown toenail before a game that might send Argentina out of the men's Mondial, you'd hear a fair bit about it.

Story continues below advertisement

And probably, as with this confusing story, before the players actually marched out on the pitch, the situation would remain as clear as mud.

So is Sinclair playing against France or isn't she?

Here is the current version: Early Wednesday, a small group of players from the Canadian team who were made available to reporters all told the same story: For their match against France on Thursday, a game which may well determine whether they advance in this World Cup, their captain would almost certainly not be available.

"It doesn't look good," Melissa Tancredi said.

"Our medical staff just doesn't think it would be a good idea," Kaylyn Kyle said.

It's that serious?

"It's that serious," Kyle confirmed.

Story continues below advertisement

And Christina (Corky) Julien, who would likely play in Sinclair's place at forward, said she been given the word.

"I've been told to be ready to go in if she's not ready and cleared to play, to just have the mindset that I might get into the game … and do what I've been preparing to do for the past couple of months," she said.

But four hours later, there was the team's unilingual Italian-speaking doctor Pietro Braina – communicating through an interpreter – telling an at least slightly different story. Behind him on the rainy stadium pitch was Sinclair, wearing her Batman mask, participating in the early stages of the final prematch training with her teammates.

(Under FIFA rules, the press is only allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of practice, so who knows what happened after that?)

It was Braina who went to Sinclair's aid when she suffered a broken nose during the 2-1 loss to Germany last Sunday, and told her she couldn't continue, before being convinced otherwise. Since then, she had been fitted with the protective mask and sat out a previous Canadian training session, while team officials talked about the "risk" of her playing.

Braina clarified things – to a degree. The risk of refracturing the nose, which would take Sinclair out of the rest of the tournament for sure, and would probably mandate surgery, comes if she plays without a mask. With a mask, that's apparently not an issue. Instead it boils down to pain and effectiveness: How much of the former Sinclair can tolerate, and how the coaches judge the latter, including the vision restrictions involved.

Story continues below advertisement

The doctor said that he gave Sinclair only a 40-per-cent chance of being able to play.

"But a lot can change in 24 hours," he added.

Last came Morace, who sounded considerably more pessimistic.

"There is some pain that you go through and some pain that you don't go through," she said. "The pain of the nose is like pain of the eyes and pain of the ears. Sometimes, it goes directly to your brain."

Losing Sinclair, Morace acknowledged, "the damage would be huge for our team." And though to some degree it will be Sinclair's call to make, it will be the doctor who will have to provide final clearance, and if they see her suffering, they won't let her go.

"It's not just the player. It's not just the doctor," she said. "But the doctor has the responsibility because of course the player wants to play."

Story continues below advertisement

So what is set up now is a bit of high drama in the minutes before game time when the teams make their start lists public.

(Back at the 1998 men's World Cup final, that's when the shocking news came that Ronaldo was out for Brazil after suffering an anxiety attack in the dressing room – and then, a few minutes later, was back in, though he certainly didn't look himself as he and his teammates bowed to France.)

Maybe something similarly disheartening could happen for Canada, in a game it really has to win. Or maybe it will have its own, inspirational, Willis Reed moment as Sinclair emerges from the tunnel.

But understand that, on the very off chance there is some subterfuge involved, the opponents aren't spending time fretting over any of this – or at least that's what they say.

"We don't think about whether she plays or doesn't play," France coach Bruno Bini said. "We have our game. We'll play the way we play."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies