The countdown continues and as we are heading closer to spring and sunnier months – hopefully – it’s already time for the third team in group C, Brazil.
The Seleção (means ‘the national squad’) is the most successful team in South America and did not have any difficulties qualifying for the World Cup. They have won seven out of the eight editions of the Copa América Femenina, the tournament through which one team, the winner, automatically qualifies for the World Cup and the runner-up gets to play a play-off match against a team from North/Central America or the Caribbeans for a place at the WC. Brazil played Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador in the group stages, going up against Chile, Argentina again and lastly Colombia in the final, winning all games throughout the tournament.
However, they have not had the best run of games since the Copa América, and they’ve lost all of the games they’ve played since August last year, including their games in the She Believes Cup against England, Japan and the United States.
There are a lot of big names in the Seleção, which is not weird considering Brazil is such a football crazy country. The biggest of them all, not only in the country but in the world, is Marta. The forward holds the record for most goals scored at a World Cup (15), she’s been named FIFA World Player of the year six times (five consecutive times between 2006-2010 and then again in 2018, which just goes to show that the 33-year-old just keeps delivering) and she won the Golden Ball (for best player) as well as the Golden Boot (for top scorer) at the World Cup in 2007, where Brazil got to the final before losing to Germany. She’s been a pivotal part of the development of women’s football worldwide and she’s a force of nature. Cristiane is another important player that has been part of the national team for 16 years (since 2003), and the forward is still a great asset for the team. There are also some younger attacking players that are coming through and putting their best feet forward. Adressinha is only 23 years old but scored three goals in five games at the Copa América, and Beatriz, 25 years old, stepped up getting six goals in five games.
This is a goalscoring side, that’s for sure, but the team is also equipped with a set of great defenders – that keep the goals out but can also score them. Mônica, 31, got four goals in six games and Érika, also 31, got two goals in two games. But one of the most impressing players is Formiga, the 41-year-old midfielder who is still kicking it, and grabbed two goals in her six games at the tournament.
The head coach of the team is Vadāo, who already coached the team once between 2014 – 2016, when he lead them to the round of 16 at the World Cup in 2015, they won the Pan American games as well as finishing fourth at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. Since he’s been back in September 2017 he’s lead the country to another Copa América title. There was quite an uproar in the team following Vadāos return, as he was fired in 2016 to be replaced by Emily Lima, the first female coach of the Brazilian national team. However, she only lasted 10 months, during which she recorded seven wins, five losses and one draw, before being fired by the Brazilian Football Association. This caused for a lot of upset in the national side and five players announced their retirement from international football as a protest, amongst them Cristiane (who then returned), Francielle and Rosana, whilst Marta remained on the team.
“I already imagined that this was going to happen, not because of the results in itself, but because of the lack of support from the technical coordination. I was looking for results from the Vadão (former coach) … there were several negatives … 3 to 0 … 4 to 0 … but in his case that never mattered…” Lima said, speaking to espnW after her dismissal, which shows the structural opposition women’s football in Brazil is still struggling with.
From what it looks like at the moment, there are no more games scheduled for the Seleção before the tournament in France, but something might pop up along the way. That was a brief look at a team with some really great ballers in it. Or, what do you think, is Marta past her time? Let us know in the comment section!