Having taken giant strides in recent years, has the moment finally arrived for Brazil’s finest women’s footballers to get their hands on some silverware? Boasting the extravagant gifts of No10 Marta, A Seleção are clearly capable of going toe-to-toe with any other national side on their day.
This was underlined by runners-up finishes at the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007 and the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, where only women’s game superpowers Germany and the United States, respectively, were able to deny As Canarinhas a first major trophy.
The road to Germany
Having lost their continental crown to Argentina at the 2006 edition of the South American Women's Championship, Brazil bounced back in style at the 2010 event to guarantee their place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ and the Olympic Football Tournament London 2012. Indeed, Kleiton Lima’s charges won all seven of their encounters at November’s qualifying competition in Ecuador, scoring 25 goals and conceding just two.
Once in the four-team final phase, 4-0 and 5-0 victories over Argentina and Colombia respectively guaranteed A Seleção their fifth continental crown with a match to spare and extended their record of being the only South American side to appear at all six editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. With the title safely in the bag, Brazil rounded off their campaign with a 3-1 win against Chile.
The star players
In the women’s game, no star shines brighter than 24-year-old Marta, for whom a major international trophy is the only thing lacking from her glittering career thus far. Winner of the adidas Golden Ball at China 2007 and elected FIFA World Player for the last four years, Marta enjoys a fine understanding with lethal strike partner Cristiane, a finalist at the 2009 FIFA World Player Gala and top scorer at Beijing 2008.
At the helm of Brazil since January 2009, a job he combines with his role at Women’s Copa Libertadores champions Santos, Kleiton Lima has made an impeccable start to his mission of preparing the team for Germany 2011. A former scout for Carlos Alberto Parreira, Lima has a full coaching set-up at the disposal of Marta and Co, in a bid to ensure his charges have everything they need to compete for the biggest prizes in world football.
Previous FIFA Women's World Cups
17 — The number of goals scored by attacking duo Marta and Cristiane at the South American Women's Championship 2010. The former topped the scorers’ charts with nine goals, closely followed by the latter’s eight-goal tally.
What they said
“Of course every striker enjoys scoring goals, but my main objective was to succeed as a team and that’s what we did. Prizes like this come naturally. Now, more than ever, I’m close to adding the World Cup and Olympic titles to my collection,” Brazil No10 Marta, after victory at the South American Women's Championship 2010.