Record-breaking Marta sends Brazil to last 16 of Women’s World Cup
Brazil's woman footballer Marta secured her place among the legends yesterday morning (Singapore time), after becoming the World Cup's all-time leading scorer.
The 33-year-old scored a 74th-minute penalty in the 1-0 win against Italy in Valenciennes, which was her 17th strike across five editions of the showpiece tournament.
Brazil set up a knockout stage clash with either hosts France or Germany after Marta's conversion moved her one goal ahead of the Germany legend Miroslav Klose in the record books.
"Do you think he'll change his mind about retiring and play at the next World Cup?" Marta joked.
Brazil finished third on goal difference in Group C behind Italy and Australia - who beat Jamaica 4-1 - after all three teams ended level on six points.
Marta wasn't fazed by the possibility of facing France, who topped Group A with a perfect nine points after scraping past Nigeria on Monday.
"To play against the host nation would be a privilege. The stadium would be full of fans singing," she said.
"I love playing in front of a big crowd whether it's supporting me or is against me. I just want there to be fans who are watching us."
Marta is widely considered the greatest player in the history of the women's game and was hailed by her teammates as an inspiration for others wanting to take up the male-dominated sport.
The defeat wasn't enough to dislodge Italy from top spot and secure a match with one of the four best third-placed finishers.
"It's a shame about the result because we didn't want to lose, but we played well enough to have drawn it," said Juventus forward Barbara Bonansea, who twice went close for Italy before Marta claimed her record goal.
"We knew that today was going to be difficult, but we were good. Let's see who our next match is with."
Marta's winner overshadowed another historic feat for Samantha Kerr, who became the first Australian to score a World Cup hat-trick as she crashed four past eliminated Jamaica in Grenoble.
"It's one to tell my kids about," Kerr said.
"Any time you break a record, especially for your country, it is an amazing feeling."
The Matildas will play Norway in Nice in the last 16 on Sunday morning. - AFP
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