Crestfallen after her side's final defeat to Germany, Marta still managed to force a smile on receiving both the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards as China 2007's outstanding player and top goalscorer. Even still, the pain of missing out on a winner's medal remained etched on her face, the crushing sense of disappointment deepened by a costly penalty miss that could have levelled the match at 1-1.
Sulking or hiding away is not, however, in the make-up of a player who emerged within minutes of her side's heartbreaking defeat to speak exclusively to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: So, how do you reflect on the final?
Marta: We fought really hard to reach this final and just getting there was a historic step for us. Unfortunately we paid a heavy price for our mistakes. We weren't clinical in front of goal, my luck deserted me from the penalty spot, we hit the woodwork two or three times and we didn't manage to dictate the tempo of the game. But that's football. Sometimes, however good you are you don't get what you want and today just wasn't our day.
Despite the defeat, you still picked up a silver medal. How
much does that mean to you?
It means a lot. We've proven that we're getting better every year despite not having a national league championship in Brazil. The players do everything in their power to keep playing. Some have a club side, others don't and train by themselves. I think that if there were more incentives and support available then Brazil could go even further. We still haven't won anything but we've reached two major finals: the Olympic Games and the World Cup. Now more than ever the Brazilian authorities need to do something for us in return, so we can take on the big teams like Germany and the USA on an equal footing. Those teams have the full support of their countries.
The Brazilian Football Association have announced that in
October they intend to hold a women's cup competition, as a
forerunner to a future league championship.
It's a good idea. It would be the first step towards a permanent league with seasons lasting seven or eight months. Players need to be able to keep their fitness up.
How does it feel to finish the tournament with the adidas
Golden Ball and Golden Shoe in your arms?
I have to share these two trophies with all my team-mates. While they're individual awards I achieved them thanks to the support of all my colleagues. Every one of the players and the coaching staff has a share of these trophies. On a personal note, I'd like to dedicate them to my mother, who helped me and encouraged me to play football.
What are your next objectives?
We now need to lift ourselves up again, look towards the future and keep working hard, because the qualifying matches for the Olympic Games are just around the corner. For me personally, I've now got to go back to Sweden for the closing stages of the league season and then the UEFA Cup qualifying matches. After winning this silver medal I'm even more determined to go back to my club side and finish the year on a high with Umea.
The crowd at the final cheered you throughout the game.
What did that mean to you?
It's great having the fans on your side. I know that they appreciate what I do on the pitch, which is always for the good of the team. The Chinese fans have given us a lot of support all the way through the tournament; they've worn Brazil shirts and really roared us on from the stands - it's been wonderful. I'm tremendously grateful and I hope to see them again next year in Beijing.
What would you say to all the girls who have watched you
play during this competition?
I'd say to them that if they have a dream, if they enjoy football and really want to play, then they shouldn't give up. Women's football can be a struggle, but us Brazilians are here fighting to open up more opportunities and smooth the path for them.