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At 35, Brazil’s Marta is still dancing Samba in Tokyo

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Brazil’s midfielder Marta leaves the pitch after being substituted during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s group F first round football match between Netherlands and Brazil at the Miyagi Stadium in Miyagi on July 24, 2021. (Photo by Kohei CHIBAHARA / AFP)

Fourteen years ago, Marta Vieira da Silva, simply known as Marta, led Brazil to the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in China.

The 2007 edition was the first time Brazil women’s team made it to the final after finishing third at USA ’99 and fifth at USA 2003.

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Marta and her golden generation of players were tipped for the title, but it turned out to be another futile effort as Brazil lost 0-2 to Germany in the final played at the magnificent Hongkou Stadium, in Shanghai. After that loss, Marta wept like a baby.

Amid the struggle to control tears, Marta told The Guardian at the post-match conference that she would continue to give her football career a ‘great push’ as long as her body would carry her.

“It’s really sad we lost the title today,” Marta said as she used her right hand to wipe her tears. “We really prepared for this match against Germany knowing full well that they are the defending champions. I will continue to push for more success as long as my body can carry me.”

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Marta, now 35, has appeared in three other FIFA World Cups since then, but nothing to show for it. At the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo, Marta is the focus of attraction for many football lovers across the globe. She became the first player, man or woman, to score in five consecutive Olympics tournaments, following her brace in the 5-0 thrashing of China in their opening match.

Marta is now the all-time top scorer in the Olympic Games. Her latest outing for Brazil marked her 160th international appearance and, her two goals against China took her total to 112 goals, the highest-score male or female player in Brazil.

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The veteran forward is widely regarded as the finest woman player of all time, having been named FIFA World Player of the Year on six occasions. She has played for 10 different clubs across in illustrious career, including Umea IK, Santos, and Rosengard.

With 17 goals, Marta also holds the record for most goals scored in a FIFA World Cup tournament (women’s or men’s). She is also the first footballer of any gender to score at five World Cup editions.

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