Canada captain Sinclair on penalties: “Worst things ever, unless you win”
Sinclair was substituted in the second half of the gold medal game, which meant she had to watch nervous kick after kick from the bench.
“I think this is the first shooting that I have not been in physically, and it was the worst experience of my life,” she said. “I wish people had a camera on Desiree Scott and me throughout this shooting, because we were going absolutely mad and having heart attacks.”
The penalties were an emotional roller coaster, with Jessie Fleming giving the Canadians the lead early, only to see the team’s next three shooters miss the mark as Sweden took a 2-1 lead.
Swedish captain Caroline Seger had a chance to win, but her attempt went over the crossbar and Deanne Rose, who needed to score to prolong the shootout, managed a big effort in the top corner.
Tied after five kicks, the penalties went to sudden death. Canadian goalkeeper Stéphanie Labbé made a big save on Sweden’s Jonna Andersson, then Canadian Julia Grosso buried the winner.
“With every practice we worked on our KPs knowing that a lot of tournaments are theirs,” said Sinclair. “We worked on it, we had extreme confidence in ourselves, then we had Steph Labbé in the goal which was like a brick wall.”
This gold medal was the second game of the tournament won by Canada on penalties. The Canadians beat Brazil 4-3 over PK in the round of 16, Labbé stopping Brazil’s last two shooters for another spectacular victory.
The gold medal is the latest highlight for Sinclair, who leads all soccer players in international goals with 187 goals. She also led Canada to bronze medals at the London 2012 Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
While an Olympic championship would be the perfect culmination of her international career, the 38-year-old from Burnaby, BC, said she was not ready to make decisions about her future.
“Right now I’m like, ‘I want to go on forever! And then the next day I’m like, ‘Or you might just have finished at the top.’ So who knows what’s going to happen.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2021.
The Canadian Press