THE DAY REPLAYED – This was the day the gifted Brazilians emphatically stated their intention of going all the way at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™. In the second round of Group C matches, the South Americans cruised to a 3–0 victory over Norway, making it two wins out of two and sealing their quarter-final berth. In front of a capacity crowd in Wolfsburg, Brazil took a first-half lead through a sublime effort from FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Marta. The goal took the wind out of Norway's sails and A Seleção proceeded to produce some exhibition football. Marta was at the centre of everything good, rounding off the scoring shortly after Rosana had doubled the advantage.
In the day's first game, Australia scrapped to a 3–2 victory over newcomers Equatorial Guinea thanks to a much improved second-half display. Leena Khamis and Anonman traded goals in the first half to make the score 1–1 at the interval. Second-half sub Lisa De Vanna injected a new sense of urgency into the Matildas’ play and scored their third goal, shortly after Emily Van Egmond had restored her side's lead. African heads went down for a spell and the Matildas looked dangerous whenever they went forward, but a touch of sloppiness in front of goal meant the game remained poised, especially after Anonman pulled one back towards the end. However, coach Marcello Frigerio’s side were unable to conjure up the chance that might have led to an equaliser.
Brazil now require a single point from their final group match against Equatorial Guinea to finish top of the section. In the parallel fixture, Australia and Norway go to the mat for second spot, with the Africans already out of contention.
Goal of the day
Brazil-Norway, Marta (22nd minute)
Brazil superstar Marta showed just why she has been named FIFA World Player of the Year five times on the bounce with a terrific strike to open her account for the tournament. With 22 minutes on the clock, she powered into the box and left defender Maren Mjelde for dead with two step-overs, before sliding the ball past keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth’s left hand.
The colours of the rainbow
Equatorial Guinea midfielder Anonman literally stood out today, not only because of the striker's instincts which brought her a brace against Australia, but also due to her extraordinary hairstyle, plaited into cornrows and an authentic work of art in itself. She favoured green highlights at the start of the tournament, but three streaks of bright red shone out today, colour-coordinated with the Guineans’ shirts. Anonman was not the only individual adding colour to today's spectacle, as her team-mates played their part with boots in orange, yellow, blue, green, white and red.
Samba rhythms and a true gentleman
Despite pouring rain and autumnal rather than summer temperatures, the Brazilians brought South American flair to Wolfsburg. Marta and Co headed for the dressing room afterwards in high spirits. Dancing to the rhythm of drums, they carried their upbeat message right into the mixed zone. Brazil coach Kleiton Lima, meanwhile, showed the bearing and manners of a true gentleman, shaking hands with the Volunteers prior to kick-off, and greeting some of the ladies present with a kiss on the hand.
On a par with Michelle Akers
Marta's two-goal haul means she is now level with Michelle Akers in the FIFA Women's World Cup all-time goalscoring chart. She and the iconic American lie second on 12 goals apiece, behind only Germany's 14-goal striker Birgit Prinz. Marta is also fast developing into Norway's worst nightmare, as she has three goals against the Scandinavians at the tournament, more than against any other opponents.
4 – Lisa De Vanna has now scored four times after coming on as a sub at the FIFA Women's World Cup, making the Australian the top scoring substitute in tournament history. She scored three at China 2007 and added her fourth today.
Thank god Marta is Brazilian. Thank god she is part of our squad. She is down to earth and humble and yet she is a genius,” Brazil coach Kleiton Lima
Tuesday 5 July
England-Japan, Augsburg, 6.15 pm CET
New Zealand-Mexico, Sinsheim, 6.15 pm CET
Germany-France, Monchengladbach, 8.45 CET
Canada-Nigeria, Dresden, 8.45 CET
Have your say
Marta contributed two goals and was the outstanding performer in Brazil's comfortable victory over Norway. The FIFA World Player of the Year is now the joint second-highest scorer in the history of the tournament, behind only German legend Prinz. Is Marta destined to overtake the home hero in the next two weeks?