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Christine Sinclair offers crucial penalty kick to Janine Beckie at Women's World Cup

 Canadian players pose ahead of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group E football match between Canada and Cameroon, on June 10, 2019, at the Mosson Stadium in Montpellier, southern France. (LtoR, from upper row) Canada’s defender Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada’s defender Shelina Zadorsky, Canada’s midfielder Sophie Schmidt, Canada’s defender Ashley Lawrence, Canada’s forward Nichelle Prince, Canada’s forward Janine Beckie, Canada’s forward Christine Sinclair, Canada’s defender Allysha Chapman, Canada’s goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, Canada’s midfielder Desiree Scott and Canada’s midfielder Jessie Fleming. (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP)
Canadian players pose ahead of the France 2019 Women’s World Cup Group E football match between Canada and Cameroon, on June 10, 2019, at the Mosson Stadium in Montpellier, southern France. (LtoR, from upper row) Canada’s defender Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada’s defender Shelina Zadorsky, Canada’s midfielder Sophie Schmidt, Canada’s defender Ashley Lawrence, Canada’s forward Nichelle Prince, Canada’s forward Janine Beckie, Canada’s forward Christine Sinclair, Canada’s defender Allysha Chapman, Canada’s goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, Canada’s midfielder Desiree Scott and Canada’s midfielder Jessie Fleming. (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP) - JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER

PARIS — It brought flashbacks of Wayne Gretzky being left on the bench during the shootout at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

This time it was Canada captain and second-leading scorer of all time Christine Sinclair not stepping up to take a critical penalty kick against Sweden at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Yet, unlike Gretzky who was kept off the shootout list by coach Marc Crawford, this time it was Sinclair who handed the opportunity to Janine Beckie.

Unfortunately for Beckie, Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made an outstanding save, diving to her right and getting her hand on a shot heading for the bottom corner to preserve a 1-0 victory.

“She made a fantastic save,” Beckie said. “It’s difficult, we beat them in penalties four months ago, so I’m sure she remembered where I went or she was refreshed before the game. I’m not one that changes where I go, I’m confident in my penalty. I thought about it on the spot and she made a fantastic save.”

Canada was awarded the penalty after a VAR review determined a shot from Desiree Scott hit the outstretched arm of Sweden midfielder Kosovare Asllani inside the penalty area.

During the review, Sinclair and Beckie discussed who would take the kick to try and tie the game.

Sinclair had missed a penalty against Lindahl at the Algarve Cup tournament in March.

“It’s normally Christine and she came up to me when they were doing the VAR and asked if I wanted to take it because of the PKs back four months ago,” Beckie said. “I said it was up to her and she told me to take it, so it was an on-the-spot decision.”

Beckie stepped up and took an excellent shot, but was denied by an even better save. Lindahl had her left foot behind the goal line, so the save was not reviewed as so many have been at this tournament.

“I’ve done that several times in my career where I’ve been close and with a little bit more I would have saved it,” Lindahl said. “This time I had to stretch fully and it worked and I was so happy. It was just pure joy and then I celebrated with my teammates and they felt the same way. We got a lot more energy from that.”

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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