Two years on from Brazil’s round-of-16 exit to France at the Women’s World Cup, Marta’s tearful speech given at the end of the match continues to resonate. “There’s not going to be a Formiga forever, there’s not going to be a Marta forever, there’s not going to be a Cristiane,” she had said, eyes shining. One of the flag-bearers for the Brazilian national team, Marta was asking for more support — asking those around the world, from living rooms to the CBF boardrooms, to value the sport more.
For Brazil, things have slowly been improving following their knockout in France. The late Vadão was replaced by well respected Swede, Pia Sundhage. Not just a coach who had known success with both the United States and Sweden, Sundhage brought with her the experience and wisdom which was a paramount for Seleção moving forward. She planned for the days of a national team without Marta and her peers.
With both Marta and Formiga making history this month for their longevity at the Olympics, the postponed Games feel like a farewell tournament: a final hurrah, one last chance to win major honors with Brazil. They have always been on the cusp; Brazil won the silver medal in 2004 and 2008, and finished fourth on three other occasions. The only blot on Seleção’s record came in 2012 when they fell at the quarterfinal stage to eventual runners-up, Japan. Yet, Brazil can only claim two silver medals from their six outings, having lost all three of their bronze medal matches to Norway, Germany and Canada.
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