Brazil were expected to be one of the heavyweights of the Women’s World Cup but slumped out of the tournament in the group stage, unable to give Marta the farewell they felt she deserved in her sixth and final edition of the showpiece.
Continental success has yet to carry over to the world stage for the Copa America Femenina champions, who failed to advance to the Round of 16 for the first time in 28 years after a goalless draw against Jamaica in Melbourne on Wednesday.
After a bright start when youngster Ary Borges scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over debutants Panama, Brazil dared to dream that coach Pia Sundhage’s blend of youth and experience might be a winning formula.
They were, however, unable to keep the momentum going in a 2-1 defeat to France, where they paid for their profligacy in front of goal, and then failed to break down a physical Jamaican defence with their tournament on the line.
Marta, the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 17 strikes, gave her all to secure the precious three points but, at age 37, was no longer able to dominate as she once did.
“For me, it’s the end of the road,”
“This moment is difficult, it wasn’t what I dreamed of even in my worst nightmares.”She said.
The veteran striker failed to secure the goal that would have made her the only player to have scored in six editions of the World Cup.
Marta’s tears after her farewell dried up as she spoke about the future of Brazilian women’s football, which she believes will be bright.
“A lot of these talented girls are very young and have a long road ahead of them,”
“This is just the beginning for them. I want people to continue with the same enthusiasm for the World Cup, to keep supporting”.She said.
Swede Sundhage has a year left on her contract and will have another chance to blend Brazil’s talented players into a team that can challenge for major titles at the 2024 Paris Olympics.