MONCTON: Brazil coach Vadao has warned that the lack of attention paid to the women’s game could cost them an Olympic gold as his team, led by superstar Marta, suffered yet another World Cup upset.
As their men shrugged off the absence of suspended captain Neymar to reach the Copa America quarter-finals, women’s skipper Marta and her teammates were packing their bags in Canada.
Marta, 29, claimed a record 15th World Cup goal but the former five-time world player of the year returns home without the ultimate accolade.
A second-half goal from Kyah Simon in wet and windy Moncton was enough to end Brazil’s campaign and send Australia through to the quarter-finals with a 1-0 scoreline.
“We asked the Brazilian football federation if we could have a permanent team so we can practice more,” explained Vadao. “In Brazil the [women’s] championship does not offer the right conditions or give us the opportunity to test our athletes and this was proven here.”
Brazil are two-time Olympic silver medallists with dreams of winning gold at home in 2016.
But Vadao warned, “We have the Olympics coming up in Brazil. We obviously need to concern ourselves a bit more.”
Meanwhile, South Korea were knocked out of the tournament in the last-16 following a 3-0 defeat to third-ranked France and Canada kept their title dream alive with a 1-0 win over Switzerland.
Dutch challenge Japan for last-four berth
Newcomers Netherlands will challenge defending champions Japan for the last remaining quarter-final berth at the Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.
Japan, ranked four, eased into the last-16 with three wins but just four goals scored, as the 12th-ranked Dutch advanced among the best third-place finishers.
But coach Norio Sasaki warned that that despite their subdued goal-scoring start to the tournament, the Asian champions were about to unleash their real firepower in the knockout rounds.
“It’s not as if we’ve been hiding what we’re capable of,” said Sasaki ahead of the game where the winner will play Australia on Saturday in Edmonton for a place in the semi-final. “It’s because the players haven’t been able to expose all their strengths. I warn everyone to be prepared for the storm that could happen.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2015.
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