World’s Best Female Player Floors Norway


Brazil 3 : 0 Norway

by Kara McDermott

Marta, the undisputed best female player in the world, led Brazil to a 3-0 rout of Norway with a brace and an assist to finish up the second round of group play in the Women’s World Cup. 

This comprised the most important fixture in Group D. With Equatorial Guinea’s loss earlier in the day, either a win or a tie by Brazil would shut them out of advancement. Norway and Brazil both entered the match sitting on 1-0 victories from their previous games in group play and were favorites for advancement. 

Norway is looking to recapture its dominance from the 1990s. They were runners-up behind the US in 1991, but came back to win the World Cup in 1995. Since then, they have not advanced past fourth place in 1999 and 2007. Brazil is likely still stinging from their loss to Germany in the final of 2007. Marta received the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe award for the tournament, but that wasn’t enough to lift her team over the defending champions. 

The match started a bit subdued as both teams were feeling out what would likely be their toughest competition in group play. Neither side was able to break open play and create any real chances. Possession was split fairly evenly. 

Norway got a shot on frame at the end of a penalty box scrap in the 17th minute, putting some pressure on the disorganized defense. 

Brazil received their first yellow card of the tournament in the 19th minute from a hard tackle by Daiane. Norway came into the match with starter Maren Mjelde and substitute Elisse Thorsnes both sitting on cards from their earlier match with Equatorial Guinea. 

In the 22nd minute, Brazil’s expectations were finally realized. Marta pulled out her signature speed and characteristic footwork by running down defender Nora Holstad Berge on the right side, overtaking her with a questionable non-call foul and bringing the ball into the box with a few dancing moves before slotting it just inside the near post.

Marta’s goal was the moment the game needed for the Brazilians to break the stalemate on the field. Multiple crosses and corner kicks soon followed. Norway conceded three goals in the space of about five minutes after the goal. 

Norway had a strong opportunity in the 31st minute off of a long set-piece into the box that forced goalkeeper Andreia to come up big against the tough Norwegian forwards.

A long shot in the 42nd minute by Rosana, who got the only goal against Australia , was tipped over the crossbar by Swedish goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth. The resulting corner kick curved out of bounds. 

Brazil shot out of the locker room after half and on to the goal. In the 46th minute, Marta once again used her quickness and technique to bring the ball into the box on the left side before sliding a pass to Rosana on the far post to finish. 

Brazil’s hero continued to exploit the Norwegian’s weaknesses. Just two minutes later, Christiane ran down a hospital ball back to keeper Hjelmseth, pulling it out from her grasp and taking a quick shot. It deflected off a defender to Marta’s foot, who took a move, and finished proving why she is a five-time recipient of Player of the Year. 

After the early onslaught, the second half went back to largely resembling the back and forth of the first half. The possession line hovered consistently around 50%. 

Norway used two of their subs early in the half, taking out midfielder Leni Larsen Kaurin for Thorsnes and replacing Emilie Haavi, their only goal scorer in the tournament so far, with Cecilie Pedersen. They used up the last of their subs in the 67th minute to bring on Gry Tofte Ims for Ingvild Stensland. 

Brazil has subbed very conservatively in this tournament. In their first match, they only used one sub, bringing on Francielle in the 84th minute. Similarly, they used the same sub in the 76th minute against Norway to rest midfielder Fabiana. Grazielle came on in the 89th minute to stretch her legs. 

The score line notwithstanding, Brazil did not show in this game the type of playmaking and spark to challenge the dominance of the early frontrunners in the tournament including Germany, Japan and the United States. 

Brazil has with this win risen to the top of their group and will advance to the quarterfinals. Norway and Australia will have to battle for the second spot. A winner from this match on Wednesday will advance. If the game ends in a tie, it will come down to goal differential. Australia boasts an advantage in this regard, having an even differential to Norway’s minus two. 

The only other group with an open advancement slot is Group B. Mexico has a far outside chance, but needs a victory, a large goal differential, and England to lose in order to make it through. A tie or better for England and/or a loss for Mexico will put the English into the quarterfinals. New Zealand will be looking to take a consolation victory out of their final match against Mexico. 

Group A and B will finish group play on Tuesday, July 5 after the Monday rest day. Group C, including the United States, and Group D will round-up the last of group play on Wednesday. Quarterfinals will be played on the weekend. 

Australia 3 : 2 Equatorial Guineau

Kara McDermott also writes for her blog, Waving the Rave. (


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