TORONTO — As the Women’s World Cup wound down, Canadian coach John Herdman pointed to his team’s very first game when asked about his favourite memories from the tournament.
"I do have some big moments," he said in an interview.
The biggest is Herdman’s joyful embrace with Christine Sinclair after the Canadian captain scored on a stoppage-time penalty for a 1-0 win over China in the tournament opener June 6.
"The memory that I’ve worked hard for and I’ll carry forever now is the celebration with Sinclair the opening game," he said. "I mean the pressure on us in that game and for her to do what she did. And then she called my name and ran towards us.
"She’s one of the greatest women I’ve ever met. And to have someone in that moment want to share that with you and then the players was just priceless. Priceless."
After scoring, Sinclair turned and raced towards the Canadian bench at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium. She pointed at a jubilant Herdman and the two embraced on the sidelines, only to be swallowed up by a mob of teammates.
It was Sinclair’s 154th international goal.
Herdman also pointed to the 1-1 tie against the Netherlands two games later when 20-year-old midfielder Ashley Lawrence scored in the 10th minute. It was her first goal at the senior level.
"We showed (the team) some stuff on England (at the) 1990 (World Cup) and how they were getting criticized for their opening games being bland and drab. And we talked about a young Paul Gascoigne stepping up … and being a top player," Herdman said.
"Young Ashley Lawrence responded and she came to the bench and she did the England celebration, the 1990 World Cup celebration. It was bloody brilliant."
Eighth-ranked Canada eventually exited the tournament in a 2-1 quarter-final loss to No. 6 England.
The second-ranked United States meets No. 4 Japan, the defending World Cup champion, in Sunday’s final at B.C. Place Stadium.