The best player in women’s soccer history shows up against Norway. Her contribution; two goals and an assist. This World Cup is turning out to be a no show for Birgit Prinz and Abby Wambach but Homare Sawa against Mexico and Marta’s statement today clearly show we should not write these big names off too early.
Marta’s first goal was a bit controversial as she pushed Nora Holstad and the Norwegian defense expecting a foul to be called were caught a bit off guard as the Brazilian danced her way past the scything legs of Maren Mjelde to lay the ball past Ingrid Hjelmseth. But there was no mistaking her genius in the second goal as she simply blazes past the Norwegians dragging them into a black hole and cuts in and then cuts in some more to find Rosana who buries her shot.
Very few have the speed and at the same time possess the patience needed for greatness which we see in Marta. The third goal was all of that pouncing on a horrible mistake by the Norwegians but then waiting just enough to coolly sidestep her challenges and then making sure to slide the ball past Hjelmseth. The average is still large but it’s moments like these we see the ever narrowing gap between the skill levels of men and women’s football. This is beyond idle conjecture but one day we shall see women compete alongside men.
The Norway loss opens up Group D as now Australia could get through even if they manage to hold their last match against the Norwegians for a shock entry into the quarterfinals. The Brazilians are now almost certain to top Group D barring a meltdown against Equatorial Guinea which puts additional pressure on England in Group C to come up with the goods against Japan to avoid a quarterfinal clash with them.