Sinclair hopes not to wear mask vs. France

A day after breaking her nose, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair spent the morning getting fitted for a mask she hopes her coaches won't make her wear.
Canadian captain Christine Sinclair reacts after scoring against Germany at the FIFA Women's World Cup. (Getty Images)

Christine Sinclair played the role of reluctant hero Monday.   

The Canadian soccer captain made headlines Sunday for bending in a free kick for a highlight-reel goal despite breaking her nose in a 2-1 loss to Germany at the FIFA Women's World Cup.   

Within hours of the game, Sinclair was trending on Twitter, and still was a full 24 hours later.   

"When I woke up for breakfast this morning, [teammate Robin Gayle] said, 'You can scrap it off your bucket list, you trended last night.' I said, 'I don't even know what that means,"' Sinclair said with a laugh.   

But while the 28-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., might have been big news Sunday night, she wanted little to do with the spotlight the next day — especially if there were cameras involved. She met with a small group of reporters in a hotel lobby, but paused when she walked off the elevator and spotted a camera.   

"There is nothing good about this," Sinclair said, pointing to her nose and frowning.   

Sinclair had her nose broken by a hard elbow from Germany's Babett Peter, but stayed in the game — against the wishes of the team's medical staff.   

She had her nose reset in a Berlin hospital, and spent Monday morning being fitted for a protective face mask. She isn't thrilled with the thought of actually wearing it Thursday when the sixth-ranked Canadians face No. 7 France in a game Canada can't lose.   

"I'm going to try to convince [the medical staff] to not make me wear it," Sinclair said. "I've heard it's not fun to wear. Your vision is limited."   

The mask is similar to the one worn by Italian soccer star Marco Materazzi or Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton.   

For now, she has a flesh-coloured hard brace protecting her nose.   

Sinclair, who hasn't seen a replay of the blow to her nose, said she knew virtually from the moment of impact exactly what had happened.   

"As soon as it happened I knew it was broken. It just went crunch," she said.   

Canada's doctor Pietro Braina put freezing on her nose on the sidelines and then the two argued after he instructed her to come out of the game. At one point, Sinclair swatted away his hand as he tried to treat her.   

"I said, 'Just let me back on the field, I have to play, I'm fine.' He said, 'You can't play with a broken nose,' and I said, 'They do it all the time,"' Sinclair said. "I see Carolina [Morace, Canada's head coach] . . . and said 'Let me go back on.' She said 'Well go."'   

It's a good thing for Canada's team that she did, as goal differential could come into play if Canada winds up drawing France on Thursday. The French edged Nigeria 1-0 in their opening round Group A game.   

The top two teams in each of the four groups of the 16-team tournament advance to the quarter-finals.   

Later in the day, the Canadians left Berlin for Bochum in western Germany — completing the 500-kilometre journey by bus. The trip took them from the tournament's biggest venue to its smallest.   

A former coal mining centre, the town is home to Bundesliga club VfL Bochum.   

Sinclair said she didn't think much of her injury after returning to the game, although her teammates certainly noticed her crooked nose. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod said it bent like a zig-zag.   

"It was painful, but there was so much adrenalin," Sinclair said.   

Teammate Kaylyn Kyle tweeted a picture of Sinclair, her face encased in a plaster-like substance, being fitted for her face mask, but the Twitter post was deleted later in the day Monday.   

Sinclair's goal from 25 yards out — which curled around goalkeeper Nadine Angerer into the top right corner — broke a German shutout streak of 622 minutes in World Cup play. Germany, the two-time defending World Cup champion, went undefeated through the 2007 tournament without conceding a goal.   

Sinclair was asked about the propensity for male soccer players to stay down when they've been injured, or take a dive even when they haven't.   

"I know my teammates, we play through anything to stay on the field, sometimes you might not see that in a men's game, but at the same time, it's a World Cup, it only comes around once every four years," Sinclair said. "I know from our team, who we are, it's our coach having to tell us, 'No you can't practice today.' We would train with a broken leg if we could."   

Sinclair will be back at practice Tuesday, and she'll be wearing her mask to try to get accustomed to it before Thursday's kickoff. But otherwise wants to put the nose incident behind her, saying she doesn't want to "make a big deal about it."   

She shrugged off talk of being a big deal back home.   

"No, I have no idea, it's been a hectic day," she said. "I haven't even called my parents yet."