Marta sat out Brazil's opener against Jamaica with a thigh injury but returned to lead it to the round of 16 with goals in matches against Australia and Italy to give her 17 World Cup goals, the most of any player.
On Sunday, the six-time FIFA Player of the Year captained Brazil against host France in an intense match in Le Havre. France advanced, 2-1, in overtime to set up a possible date with the USA in the quarterfinals, but Marta and her teammates controlled the tempo for much of the match.
After the match, Marta, who plays in the NWSL for the Orlando Pride, spoke in the post-game television interview:
“It’s about wanting more, it’s about training more, it’s about looking after yourself more, it’s about being ready to play 90 minutes and then 30 minutes more. So that’s why I am asking the girls. There’s not going to be a Formiga forever, there’s not going to be a Marta forever, there’s not going to be a Cristiane. Women’s soccer depends on you to survive. Think about it, value it more.”
She then added: “Cry now so you can smile at the end.”
Formiga is 41 and played in her record seventh World Cup. Cristiane is 34.
Marta and her teammates exceeded expectations after entering the tournament with a nine-game losing streak dating back to the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
France-Brazil drew a record Women's World Cup audience and was the largest viewership for any program of the year on TF1, France's most popular network. The match, which finished close to midnight, drew 10.6M viewers on TF1 plus 1.3M on pay Canal+. (Of those Frenchmen watching TV, 49% were watching the TF1 broadcast.)