Marta, the Most Shinning Star at the 2007 World Cup
Marta, the most shinning star at the 2007 World Cup, scored seven times to top the scorer list. Her amazing dribbling1 skills, incredible quick pace and innate2 scoring instinct stunned3 the world and gave Brazil their first-ever final and a silver medal. Marta was awarded the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball.
“If there is one player capable of marketing4 women’s football to a global audience, it is Marta,” wrote The Telegraph’s Oliver Brown. “The lithe5 Brazilian striker...has become her nation’s icon6.”
Since Marta could not play organized football in Brazil, she moved to Sweden to develop her game when she was 18. There, she earned the nickname “Pele in a skirt”.
She certainly lived up to her nickname at the 2007 World Cup. In a beautiful move against the US in the semifinals8, Marta kicked the ball over one defender and then sent the ball bouncing into the net. The amazing goal became a YouTube9 sensation10. “Any game against US was tough11, so it was a fantastic12 win and we make history,” said Marta after the match.
It was the first time for Brazil, who had not won any FIFA13 Women’s World Cup or Olympic soccer tournament14 title, to advance to a World Cup final. Brazil also ended the United States’ 51-game unbeaten run.
“The whole team was full of passion. So it was a victory of the team, not myself,” Marta said. She also expressed gratitude to her partner up front15 Cristiane and midfielder Daniela who gave her full support on the pitch.
US coach Greg Ryan said, “I got two players to mark Marta. But she was fantastic.”
Before coming to China, Marta told reporters, “I just can’t wait for it to start. I don’t know if we’ll win it, but we’ll certainly be going there with the firm belief that anything is possible.”
Chilled16 to Perfection
Marta caught people’s eyes when she took part in the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship Canada 2002 at the age of 16. And a year later she was back in the global spotlight17 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003.
In 2006, Marta beat Prinz to be named the FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Year.
Rene Simoes coached Brazil’s women’s team at the 2004 Olympics. He compares Marta to another Brazilian centre-forward18—the great Romario, with whom he has also worked. “They are very similar,” he says. “Whether playing dominoes19, cards, or football—neither of them accepts losing.”
Simoes says Marta’s technique is as good as the men’s. “Her ball control at speed is fabulous20. She thinks fast. She is always scoring. I think in the history of women’s football only [American] Mia Hamm has been a better player. But Marta is much more creative. And she is only 21. In two years’ time, she will overtake21 Mia to be the best.”
Marta was born on Feb. 19, 1986 in Dois Riachos, a town in the north-east of Brazil. When it rains, crops grow. When it doesn’t—which is most of the time—there is little work to go round. Marta’s father was a barber22. He left her mother when Marta was just a baby, condemning23 the family—Marta has two elder brothers and a sister—to poverty and struggle. “We didn’t have enough money even to buy a football,” Marta said. “If my mum had done that we would have gone without food.”
She began to play football in the streets with local boys. When none of them had a ball, they would make one by folding up plastic bags. When Marta played football, many of the boys mocked24 her. “They would insult25 me, say that I had no shame. Sometimes, I’d try to fight them. I might have been small but I was a tough little girl.”
She was often called a “man-girl”. “Even now in Brazil you hear comments like that,” Marta says. There was resistance, too, within her family. Her eldest brother was opposed to her playing what was, in effect, a game for boys. “He had heard people mock me, and so he wanted to protect me.”
Playing with boys did have benefits, however. Marta picked up26 their favorite skills—dribbling and flamboyant27 ball control. She developed into a creative centre-forward (her role model is Rivaldo). In February 2004, she became the first Brazilian woman to play professionally in Europe.
Marta helped Umea to win the Swedish championship in 2005 and 2006. She is the best-paid female footballer in the league (she refuses to say how much she earns, although adds that it doesn’t compare to the men’s game) and is a much bigger star in Sweden than in Brazil—where, before she won her FIFA award, she was scarcely known at all. She speaks Swedish and feels that Umea, less than 200 miles from the Arctic Circle28, is her second home.“The cold was a challenge,” she says.“I went from 35 degrees every day in Brazil to a place where it reaches minus 22 in the winter. But my life has always been about breaking barriers29. I saw everything as a challenge.”
1. dribble v. 运球前进
2. innate adj. 天生的
3. stun v. 使目瞪口呆；使发愣
4. market v. 推销
5. lithe adj. 轻快的，柔软的
6. icon n. 偶像
7. live up to 做到; 无愧于(自已的声望等)
8. semifinal n. 半决赛
9. YouTube 美国一个非常著名的视频网站，让使用者上载观看及分享视频短片。
10. sensation n. 轰动
11. tough adj. 艰难的
12. fantastic adj. 奇异的，极好的
13. FIFA: Federation Internationale de Football Association 国际足球联盟
14. tournament n. 锦标赛
15. up front 前锋
16. chill v. 使感到冷
17. spotlight n. 关注的焦点
18. centre-forward 中锋
19. domino n. （复）多米诺骨牌
20. fabulous adj. 极好的，难以置信的
21. overtake v. 超越，超过
22. barber n. 理发师
23. condemn v. 迫使处于不良境地
24. mock v. 嘲笑，讥笑
25. insult v. 欺负，侮辱
26. pick up 学会
27. flamboyant adj. 浮夸的，炫耀的
28. the Arctic Circle 北极圈
29. barrier n. 障碍，阻拦