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Christine Sinclair’s miss underscores penalty kick trend: World Cup digest

Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie blocks Canada captain Christine Sinclair's penalty kick in the World Cup group stage. (Mark Avellino/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.

Today’s top news: Christine Sinclair’s missed PK underscores larger trend

Canada captain Christine Sinclair nearly became the first person to score at six World Cup tournaments when she took a penalty kick Thursday. But she missed the spot, as Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie made the save to help Nigeria secure the 0-0 draw.

“Christine Sinclair scored many, many, many goals for this country and I’m sure the fans, the team and everyone can forgive missing a penalty kick,” Canada coach Bev Priestman said. “I think penalty kicks are a 50-50 chance and on this day Sinc didn’t score.

“Sinc has high standards and is a bit of a perfectionist but at the end of the day, this team and this country love Christine Sinclair more than anything, and so they’ll rally around her and we’ll be on and have her ready for the next game.”

But the penalty underscores a bigger trend: Through five games, there have been five penalties awarded — on a handball by Norway, a shove by Ireland, a trip by Nigeria, a trip by Costa Rica. VAR assisted in awarding the third in Switzerland’s 2-0 win against the Philippines.

It’s a trend to watch as the tournament continues.

Today’s top highlight: Philippines national anthem plays for the first time at a World Cup

The Philippines women’s national team is one of several making history in this tournament with a World Cup debut. No other team from the Phillippines, men’s or women’s, has played in a World Cup before, so the country’s national anthem was heard at the World Cup for the first time Friday.

Today’s results:

  • Nigeria 0, Canada 0
  • Switzerland 2, Philippines 0
  • Spain 3, Costa Rica 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • The Philippines nearly scored a goal in its first-ever World Cup game. While an offside call disallowed the goal, the celebration is worth watching.
  • USWNT midfielder Lindsey Horan and coach Vlatko Andonovski remained coy when asked if they were going to “crush” Vietnam in an echo of the team’s 13-0 win against Thailand four years ago. “There are not easy games that before you were just like, oh, this is going to be 6-0, 7-0 or whatever,” Horan said. “It’s not how it is anymore.”
  • The World Cup opener almost looked easy for Spain, with Aitana Bonmati and Esther González scoring within four minutes of each other. Including a Costa Rica own goal, the team’s three goals were scored in a span of six minutes. In total, Spain levied 46 shots, 12 of which were on target, and held possession for 81% of the match.
  • Zambia star midfielder Grace Chanda is out of the World Cup with an illness. According to Reuters, she has since been hospitalized for treatment. “Grace Chanda has been taken ill and unfortunately she is out of the tournament. We have done everything we can to help her, she is getting all the attention she needs but she won’t be able to take part,” team doctor Faith Chibeza said.
  • Netherlands head coach Andries Jonker hit back at FIFA after a training session where the team was made to train on a cricket pitch, which he noted is “rock hard” and “dangerous” for soccer players. “It’s so dangerous considering possible injuries. And then I don’t even talk about the impact on the muscles,” he said. “We have to do something on half a pitch. … This is amateurism in its biggest shape.”