Day 5, Match 9

Canada vs. France, Group A

Date and Location

June 30, rewirpowerSTADION, Bochum, Germany

Broadcast details

Live on CBC TV and CBCSports.ca (11:45 am ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.

Schmidt sympathizes

Sophie Schmidt knows what her teammate is going through. 

"I broke my nose in April and I didn’t have a form fitting mask," said the Canadian midfielder.

The mask she wore was more rigid than the ones Sinclair has been trying on. 

"I couldn’t see anything when I had my head down" said Schmitdt. "It was a disaster, I would head it and it would smush my face.

"I mean it sucks to play with a mask.  It limits your vision but she’s fantastic, she’ll be fine," said Schmidt.  

Sinclair’s teammates all hope their captain is in the lineup Thursday. As much as they are concerned, they’ve also been amusing themselves with the situation.

"We make fun of her mostly," said Schmidt.

She told reporters she couldn’t repeat the funniest thing said about the situation but that a fair amount of ribbing is taking place among the women.

"Do I think she’s going to play or not? I have no idea," said forward Melissa Tancredi. "But it does not look like it.  I’ve been a part of broken noses and hers is a little difficult to deal with."

— Sonali Karnick, CBC Sports

The big story

Will Christine Sinclair play? That is the burning question.

Canada's captain broke her nose during Canada's opening 2-1 loss to Germany, forcing team doctors to hold her out of practice Tuesday.

Sinclair has been fitted with a protective face mask to wear if she does play, but she has not yet been medically cleared to play against France.

What's at stake

Depending on what happens in the later game between Germany and Nigeria, Canada could be eliminated if it loses to France. The French could book their spot in the next round with a victory provided Germany also wins, so both sides have plenty to play for in this encounter. A draw, while not fatal, means Canada would not control its fate going into the final group-stage match against Nigeria. So, in a sense, this is a must-win match for the Canadians.

Setting the stage

This is a game that could effectively decide the destiny of Canada and France at the World Cup. A win for either side could be the key to moving on — a loss could be the forerunner to elimination. 

If recent history is anything to go by, this won't resolve a thing. The two countries played to a 0-0 draw in a friendly in France in March 2008 and tied 2-2 in August 2006. However, in six all-time meetings, Canada has won three matches and lost only once, way back in 1995. 

Christine Sinclair is not just a prolific scorer. The Canadian captain also has the experience and temperament to handle the big game atmosphere. Her recent njury situation will no doubt inspire her teammates. The French will look to Camile Abily to control midfield and cause problems for the Canadian defence.

Player to watch for Canada

Christine Sinclair — The Canadian forward has managed to rally her teammates around her with her gutsy performance, shaking off a broken nose and scoring a highlight reel goal in a 2-1 loss to the Germans.

Player to watch for France

Marie-Laure Delie — Delie scored the opening goal of the tournament in France's 1-0 win over Nigeria, and worked herself into some dangerous positions the entire game.

World Cup head-to-head

Although Canada and France have faced each other six times in international play, this will be their first World Cup encounter.