Ma a and the lady Sele­cao en­joy spot­light

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AL­READY buoyed by the pur­suit of land­ing a first gold medal in the sport for foot­ball-mad Brazil, the hosts’ women will be in­spired by the rare chance to play at the iconic Mara­cana in their Olympics semi-fi­nal with Swe­den to­day.

Hav­ing lived for so long in the shadow of their male coun­ter­parts, the Ca­narinha are lov­ing their time in the lime­light with a na­tion en­thralled by their emo­tional run to the last four.

A heart-stop­ping 7-6 penalty shootout win over Aus­tralia left five­time World Player of the Year Marta in tears of re­lief after her missed spot-kick looked to have sealed Brazil’s fate.

In­stead, goal­keeper Bar­bara made two bril­liant stops to set up a semi­fi­nal against Swe­den, who also ended the USA’s bid for a fourth straight gold on penal­ties in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

“I never thought I could play at the Mara­cana,” striker An­dressa Alves told

“The Mara­cana is the sym­bol of Brazil­ian foot­ball. Zico, Ron­aldo, every­body ... I’ve got to be there to see what it’s like.”

The 23-year-old, whose bur­geon­ing tal­ents have seen her sign for Barcelona’s women’s team in June, is lov­ing the sup­port so nor­mally re­served for Brazil’s men, who are also in semi-fi­nal ac­tion at Mara­cana against Hon­duras on Au­gust 17.

“The guys al­ways get to play in front of 50 or 60,000 peo­ple, but we don’t. Here, we’re get­ting those crowds ev­ery­where and now we’ve got the Mara­cana, where there’s go­ing to be even more.”

The women could even have the hon­our of beat­ing the men to Brazil’s first-ever foot­ball gold with the women’s fi­nal at the 78,000 ca­pac­ity Mara­cana on Fri­day, 24 hours be­fore the men’s show­piece. –

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