Brazil exited the World Cup on Wednesday hoping a new generational talent will emerge as Marta’s sixth and final Women’s World Cup ended with a 0-0 draw against Jamaica that sent the Caribbean side to the last 16.
Her team mates had promised a better send-off for the iconic forward affectionately known as “Queen Marta” in soccer-mad Brazil but none could find a way through the Jamaicans at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Marta, the tournament’s all-time highest scorer with 17 goals, may have been the most frustrated of them all, having had her chances in a match in which they needed three points.
Starting on field for the first time in the tournament, her team mates found her a number of times in the area but she could not conjure the magic touch wielded at five previous World Cups.
The 37-year-old tired as Jamaica stayed firm in defence and she came off in the 80th minute to cheers from anxious Brazil fans.
Having won virtually every individual award in women’s football, Marta missed out on the World Cup she had craved, and Brazil’s wait for a first goes on.
With the team crashing out of the group stage for the first time in 28 years, questions will be asked about their preparations and tactics under coach Pia Sundhage.
Though contracted for another year, Sundhage conceded her future may be out of her hands.
The Swede was blunt about Brazil’s need to regenerate, likely without the player who has dominated women’s soccer in the country for decades.
Sundhage said she had no idea whether Marta wanted to play on for the national team but suspected she would because of her love of the game.
“Whether she’s good enough to be called up to the national team, let’s see,” said Sundhage.
“As long as I am coaching the national team, I am going to do a lot of work to find new players.
“That means it’s going to be harder for Marta to play going forward.”