By Carrie Serwetnyk – Special to POSTMEDIA NEWS
What will Canada’s legacy be from this World Cup?
So far their games have been mildly disappointing.
We don’t really want to mention it.
We squeezed out an extra-time penalty shot in the opener against China. We couldn’t finish against the Kiwis during game two. The Netherlands draw was Canada’s most punctuated performance with a dynamic splash of attacking in the first half but it ended with a crowd-silencing punch from Kirsten Van de Ven in the 87th minute.
Forty-five thousand pro-Canadian fans filled Montreal’s Big O sporting an abundance of maple leafs – many in ponytails. But we left morose with our other tail deflated.
Meanwhile, on the American side of the ledger a 52,000 Star-Spangled Banner’d crowd pumped up Vancouver’s BC Place with a patriotic blast of red, white and blue to take on Nigeria.
Stellar captain Abby Wambach came through with a strike she admitted may have been courtesy of her shin guard.
We are waiting for Sinclair.
At least we made it to the quarters.
“It was our goal to go out and stay on the West Coast, “expressed Canadian coach John Herdman after the match. “They see Vancouver as home. We can’t wait to get back. We know Vancouver will rock. It will be fantastic!”
His voice trailed with mixed enthusiasm. He also blamed himself for substitutions that may have led to the last-minute goal that ruined Canada’s victory party.
Monday night was electric with an early goal from Ashley Lawrence and we saw a glimpse of a team that might compete with the best in the later rounds. “The pressure is off,” Herdman said, “we would like to have nine points, but we won our group. The team isn’t ready for the Americans, Germany or Brazil. They’ll get there.
“We’ll see what the universe brings us.”
The bigger story that few want to admit too loud is the performance of our poster star Christine Sinclair. She’s featured on every World Cup advertisement. She’s on a stamp. She’s on the roster at EA. She’s also 32.
Her teammates have to do better than send her foot-race passes into space or Hail Marys into the box when she is double-marked. There needs to be more penetrating passes to unbalance the defence rather than safe-ball possession back passes.
Herdman has defended Sinclair. “She is absolutely world class. Her time has come. Trust me on that. Every player on the team is inspired by her and works to be at her level.”
Thousands of girls across our country want to be her, too.
Wambach has a similar respect in her homeland.
The difference is when you listen to her, every word that comes out of her mouth is about winning.
“Last night I dreamt of red things and I looked it up and something shifted in me. Where I looked – identity crisis what is happening? There was passion — something physical? Whenever your back is against the wall you can ask yourself certain questions. For me, I want to always leave myself with no possible room for regret. Regardless if I scored tonight I gave my team my best effort. That’s all that I can give. And the integrity in which I did it is something I’m proud of.”
Coach Jill Ellis described her 35-year-old star this way: “When I took this job, if Abby had one leg, she was going to make the roster. There is so much about her that she embodies for the spirit of this team. Her leadership is tremendous, her spirit is fantastic. When I met with her early, I said I have not predetermined your role, your role is going to be as big as you deliver. I know Abby, I know in big moments, she delivers.”
We are waiting for Sinclair.
Carrie Serwetnyk, the first female inductee to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, is director of Equal Play, a non-profit group working for girls on and off the field, and funded by Jump Start, Telus and “Kwikw” silver pendants (an eagle with soccer ball). The pendants, by Olympic medal designer Corrine Hunt, are available at EqualPlayFC.com.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/soccer/Carrie+Serwetnyk+Waiting+Christine+Sinclair/11144436/story.html#ixzz3dMcxXKYM