Marta in Brazil’s Squad for Women’s World Cup but Cristiane Not Included

REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Soccer Football – Women’s International Friendly – Brazil v Chile – Estadio Mane Garrincha, Brasilia, Brazil – July 2, 2023 Brazil coach Pia Sundhage before the match

Marta in Brazil’s squad for Women’s World Cup but Cristiane not included

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Soccer superstar Marta overcame injury worries to be included in Brazil’s squad for the upcoming Women’s World Cup but prolific striker Cristiane won’t be there.

Brazil coach Pia Sundhage announced her squad on Tuesday for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand. The 37-year-old Marta has won the world player of the year award six times but has never won the trophy in five previous attempts with Brazil. This will likely be her last World Cup.

Sundhage has said previously in an interview with The Associated Press that Marta could start the tournament on the bench while she continues to recover from a left knee injury.

The biggest surprise inclusion in the squad was 34-year-old Flamengo goalkeeper Barbara, who had not been picked in recent calls.

Brazil, one of three South American teams in the tournament, is expected to advance to the knockout stage in Group F. The group also includes France, the team that eliminated the Brazilians four years ago in the round of 16, Jamaica and Panama.

Eleven of Brazil’s 23 players have never played at a World Cup.

“That mix could be the winning formula,” Sundhage said in a news conference at the Brazilian soccer confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. The Swede said she did not want to talk about players — such as Cristiane — who had not made the squad. Cristiane has scored 11 goals for Brazil in previous editions of the tournament.

Brazil will be coached at a World Cup by a European for the first time. Sundhage has had nearly four years to transform the team. Sundhage led the United States to two Olympic gold medals.

Brazil will play a last friendly game at home on Sunday against Chile in Brasilia. Then the Brazilian squad will head to Australia aiming to go one better than its best-ever finish in eight World Cup appearances: runner-up to Germany in 2007.

Brazil’s first game is against Panama on July 24 in Adelaide.

Brazil Squad:

Goalkeepers: Leticia Izidoro (Corinthians), Camila (Santos), Barbara (Flamengo).

Defenders: Rafaelle (Arsenal), Bruninha (Gotham FC), Kathellen (Real Madrid), Antonia (Levante), Tamires (Corinthians), Lauren, Monica (both Madrid CFF).

Midfielders: Adriana (Orlando Pride), Ary Borges (Racing Louisville), Kerolin (North Carolina Courage), Ana Vitória (Benfica), Duda Sampaio, Luana (both Corinthians).

Forwards: Debinha (Kansas City Current), Andressa Alves (Roma), Nycole (Benfica), Gabi Nunes (Madrid CFF), Geyse (Barcelona), Bia Zaneratto (Palmeiras), Marta (Orlando Pride).