FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Marta: I still get very nervous before matches

Marta of Brazil poses for a portrait
© Getty Images
  • Marta has become the first player to score in five Women's World Cups
  • The leading scorer in this tournament's history spoke to
  • LIVE: #ITABRA Live Blog updating now

By Giancarlo Giampietro with Brazil

It took Marta just 45 minutes of Brazil’s second match at France 2019, against Australia, to show why there had been so much expectation about her return to action. The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2018 had arrived at the tournament nursing a muscle strain and was only passed fit on the very day of the game.

She nevertheless helped A Seleção put together an excellent first-half performance, keeping her nerve to score from the spot as they took a 2-0 lead. In the process, she pulled level with Germany’s Miroslav Klose as the all-time highest scorer in World Cup history with 16 goals.

Australia’s comeback meant there would be no celebrating that landmark achievement. Yet though the team was frustrated that their efforts came to nothing, their star performer is determined that they turn the page and secure the points they need against Italy to qualify for the next round. “We’re going to do it,” she said.

Marta is still building her legacy in a tournament that has shaped her career. The queen of Brazilian football has designs on going a long way with A Seleção at France 2019 and on enjoying the special atmosphere of the World Cup a little longer yet.

Losing to Australia was big blow but what lessons can Brazil take from the game?

The biggest lesson was that we had the game won but couldn’t see it through. The team didn’t perform in a way that could get us the right result and that’s something we need to work on. We all have to be in tune with each other.

What will the Italy game bring?

It’s life or death for us now. We need the win to qualify. We’ve got a competitive side but if we create chances, we have to take them and finish moves off by putting the ball away.

Let’s talk about your matchday routine. What do you always do before big games like this and what do you never do?

I get very nervous, which is a bit ridiculous really. I go to the toilet a lot. Goodness me (laughs). It’s nothing though. It’s just to get myself going (laughs). I can’t eat, and I also have a moment to myself, to speak to God. I always use the front door to get on the bus and to get off. It might seem crazy but it’s just something I do. When the ball starts rolling, I just put everything out of my mind and focus on the job in hand.

Smashing in goals is another routine for you, and now you’ve gone and equalled Miroslav Klose’s record by scoring your 16th World Cup goal. How do you feel about being on the brink of taking the record outright?

Very happy, though it’s all down to teamwork. Marta wouldn’t be the joint top scorer in World Cup history without the help of her team-mates and all the staff. It’s nice and it motivates me too. It’s definitely something that pushes me on when I’m out on the pitch.

Even for someone with your World Cup experience, is this a special tournament for you. Do you see it as an achievement for you and your colleagues?

Yes. It is an achievement for women’s football. We’re always asking for more support, development and recognition for something we’ve been doing for years now. It’s important and we don’t want it to just come and go. Our generation, both in Brazil and other countries, will go one day, and we hope that the generations to come can build on things.

Finishing off now... you still have a long career ahead of you.

Amen to that (laughs).

When the end does come how would you like to be remembered in football?

Well, I think the games and the goals I scored, the things I won. But I think it would be more important to be remembered for having tried, along with other players, to improve the game, to have left a legacy for the next generation of players who come along.

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