Home / Sports / Marta never won a World Cup. Here’s what left her empty-handed.
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Marta never won a World Cup. Here’s what left her empty-handed.

Brazil’s Marta is one of the greatest ever to play soccer. She gave her home country years and years of elite play, including some jaw-dropping moments of brilliance, yet she and Brazil never won a Women’s World Cup.

This episode of Untitled explores the obstacles that prevented Marta and company from hoisting the trophy. Those obstacles include critical moments on the field, like disastrous penalty kicks and one legendary United States header. The main, overarching obstacle, though, is Brazilian soccer infrastructure itself. From grassroots to pro leagues to the national team, soccer-playing girls and women in Brazil have never received the boost that built their male counterparts into great, Cup-winning sides. In fact, Brazilian women were banned from playing soccer for a huge chunk of the 20th century.

Winning it all takes talent, timing, and institutional support. Marta always had the first thing and sometimes got the second thing, but never enjoyed the third. Brazilian soccer authorities failed Marta and her teammates. This is how it went down.

Written and produced by Seth Rosenthal
Edited by Jiazhen Zhang

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