CARDIFF: Marta and Cristiane, two of the greatest women players of all time, brought all their talent to play as Brazil – without ever needing to play flat-out – swept Cameroon aside 5-0 in their Group E game in the Millennium Stadium in the women’s football tournament.
Marta, five times the FIFA World Women’s Player of the Year, scored twice (70 penalty and 88) while Cristiane – who joined the game only after half-time – scored one goal (79) and created Marta’s second with a darting run of which any of Brazil’s greatest men players would have been proud.
Cristiane’s goal was her 11th in the Olympic Games, a competition record. She previously shared the leadership (on 10) with Germany’s Birgit Prinz. Germany missed out on the finals after losing to Japan in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup on home soil.
Francielle (seven minutes), Renata Costa (10) scored the first-half goals for a Brazilian side who could have won by many more, had they so wished.
The South Americans began the game with a defined sense of purpose, putting pressure on the Africans from the outset. They had their first goal after only six minutes, when Francielle stepped up and curled a low free-kick into the net from way out on the left.
It was 2-0 just three minutes later, and once again Francielle was involved. She crossed a corner to Renata Costa, who made no mistake with a cool finish at the back post.
In the second half Marta, who found herself dropping back into midfield to get a sniff of the ball, finally achieved her breakthrough in the 72nd minute. Darting into the penalty area to collect a low cross from the right, she was hauled down unceremoniously and awarded a spot-kick. She duly finished it with aplomb.
Eight minutes later, the Brazilians finally found their true rhythm. Marta slipped an elegant through-ball to Cristiane, who rounded the keeper and poked home a cheeky goal from an acute angle. The two combined again to add a fifth and final goal three minutes from time. Cristiane rounded the keeper once more and crossed for Marta, who hit the ball into the open goal.
Brazil next meet New Zealand on Saturday while Cameroon face another heavy task against hosts Great Britain.
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