She’s done it! Christine Sinclair is the leading scorer in international football history.
Twenty years and eight months had passed with an American boasting the distinction – first Mia Hamm and, since 2013, Abby Wambach. However, Sinclair found the bottom corner from the penalty spot against St. Kitts and Nevis to tie the latter’s record, before a predatory goal moved her into outright sovereignty on 185 goals.
“Before the game Dri [Adriana Leon] told me she’s got me,” Sinclair said. “She saw me, crossed it perfectly, and all I could think was ‘Don’t miss the net’. I feel relief that it’s out of the way in the opening game.”
Sinclair may be habitually modest, but the rest of the world was on hand to shower her in the plaudits she thoroughly deserves. And Wambach, in a movingly gracious gesture to a Canadian that had stolen her distinction, was one of the first to post her congratulations.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino sent a letter to Sinclair saluting the Canadian striker after the match. “My warmest congratulations on this historical and exceptional accomplishment,” he said. “It could only be achieved thanks to your tremendous commitment, exemplary motivation, hard work and incredible passion for our beautiful game.
“Your human qualities and skills, not to mention your remarkable contribution to the popularity and growth of women’s football, or soccer, deserve our admiration.”
“She’s an amazing human being,” John Herdman, who coached Sinclair for seven years, told FIFA.com of her. “She could and should be a multi-millionaire, but she never asked for a penny more than her team-mates. She’s always put her team, her country first. You don’t meet many people like that in your life.
“She’s 36, she’s still playing at the highest level, still scoring goals. After 2015, she was written off by some people, but there she was, in front of 70,000 Brazilians in Rio, doing what Sinclair does: in the six-yard box, scoring the goal that got us another medal. A unique player.
“If you come to this country, there’s one woman that everyone knows: it’s Christine Sinclair. It was an absolute gift in my life to have the chance to work with her.”