“China is a very difficult team,” said the five-times world football player of the year.
“They had almost 10 players in defence but we scored in the first half and so they had to come out and we had more space. Scoring three times against a team like China, with all the pressure we had, I think it’s super-perfect.”
Marta, who has scored 102 goals in 104 internationals, could not add to her total but she promised to do so soon, perhaps in Group E games against Sweden and South Africa.
“I almost scored but the goalkeeper saved,” she said with a laugh. “I will do it next time.”
© GETTY IMAGES
No one would bet against that as Brazil looked in excellent form in front of a passionate home crowd. Brazil’s women have reached the final of the Olympic competition twice and lost both times. They are hoping to make it third time lucky in their home Olympics, the first ever to be held in South America.
Brazil got the opener against China after a goalmouth scramble after 35 minutes. Monica headed through a ruck of players and into the net for a scrappy but well-deserved goal. The hosts doubled the lead after 59 minutes thanks to nice work from Marta, who crossed the ball for Andressa Alves to volley home from close range. Cristiane, who had a goal disallowed and had a shot kicked off the line in the first half, got the goal her hard work deserved in the final minute. She rose to beat goalkeeper Lina Zhao to a free kick and nod home.
Brazil next take on Sweden, who were unconvincing in beating South Africa 1-0, on Saturday.
“We scored three goals, got a win and now we face Sweden a little bit more relaxed,” Cristiane said. “Anything can happen and the teams that are here are for a reason,” she told TV cameras after the game. “I think we are going to fight for a medal.”
© GETTY IMAGES