Brazil legend Marta has issued a passionate plea for women to get involved with the game in her home country after her team was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup by hosts France.
Brazil fell behind early in the second half when Valerie Gauvin, who had seen a first half goal disallowed after VAR review, poked the ball in from close range following a Kadidiatou Diani cross.
Thaisa equalised 11 minutes later, to force the game into extra-time.
Amandine Henry broke Brazilian hearts when she swept home a free kick in the second period of extra-time.
It marked Brazil’s second consecutive elimination at the quarter-final stage, but Marta, who holds the record for most goals scored in World Cups, regardless of gender, was defiant in defeat.
“It’s about wanting more,” the 33-year-old forward told Fox Sports.
“It’s training more. It’s taking care of yourself more. It’s about being ready to play 90 plus 30 minutes.
“This is what I ask of the girls.”
"Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end"— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 23, 2019
Marta's message for Brazil's next generation will give you CHILLS. 💛💚 pic.twitter.com/waDAFlgM4F
The six-time FIFA Women’s player of the year went on to address the aging nature of the current Brazil squad.
Midfield anchor Formiga is 41, while Cristiane, who bagged a hat-trick in her team’s opening group game against Jamaica, is 34.
Marta knows that the next generation must come through if Brazil are to continue to feature on the world stage.
“There’s not going to be a Formiga forever,” the Orlando Pride player continued.
“There’s not going to be a Marta forever. There’s not going to be Cristiane.
“The women’s game depends on you to survive.
“So think about that. Value it more.
“Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”
Brazil’s World Cup campaign was shown on basic cable in the country.
Viewing figures seem to suggest there’s a growing interest in the game at home. Nearly 27 million watched some of their games, but financial support lags behind the men’s game.
Marta will hope her global recognition, and her words, will inspire a continuation of that growth, despite their defeat on Sunday.