• Pablo Lario

Marta, Who?

Well, Brazil thrashed Jamaica 3-0 on their first match of Group C and they strengthen themselves as the favorites to win the Women's World Cup in France this summer.

The absence of Marta, the great star of this Brazil team, was the main topic of discussion at the start of this game, but, clearly, her absence wasn't felt on the field, as former PSG's star, Cristiane, took the role of the iconic Brazilian. The recent Sao Paulo's signing scored a memorable hat-trick that completely sank Jamaica, who debuted poorly in their first ever World Cup.

Cristiane's contribution was key, but FC Barcelona's Andressa Alves also did her part during the match. Alves offered all her virtues so that the Canarinha could display their best possible game in the Women's World Cup and show the world why Brazil is a nation everyone should fear. It's true that teams like France and United States are the clear favorites to lift the trophy at the end of the tournament, but if Brazil can win like this without Marta, it's scary to think what they could do with her?

Clearly, the Brazilian's first game was almost overwhelming, proving those who didn't think they could win without their big stars wrong. Despite the injuries, without Erika, back home, and especially without Marta, on the bench, the Canarinha started the tournament with a resounding victory after taking the field with a clear offensive mindset that completely broke Jamaica's defense.

With just only 15 minutes in the game, Barcelona's striker Andressa Alves, very mobile, changed quickly from the right wing to the left side of the pitch, and delivered a perfect cross to the area, that Cristiane finished for the first goal with a magnificent header (1-0, minute 15th).

Vadao's pupils fluently overcame a too permeable Jamaica. Debinha had the second goal in her boots, but the Caribbean goalkeeper, Sydney Scheiner, was not letting any Brazilian score another goal. Even stopping an Andressa Alves penalty in the 38th minute!

It looked like Jamaica was getting back into the game, with several chances and shots from Shaw that forced Brazilian goalie, Barbara, to also show her class to stop the opposition attacks. The dynamism and fast game opened options for Jamaica, but, in the end, they couldn't overcome Brazil's flair.

In contrast, Brazil practically closed the match at the start of the second half with a new centre pass from Andressa, from the right, which Cristiane placing it at the far post (2-0, 50th minute). With the end near, Jamaica refused to give up. They tried to react and came back with danger, but their lack of success in front of goal, accompanied by Brazilian efficiency, prevented them from doing so. In the end, Cristiane, once again scored, completing her hat-trick, after a direct free kick in the 64th minute (3-0).

After so many doubts, disappointments and some consecutive defeats, Brazil finally presented their credentials to be considered World Cup contenders, with a fearsome offensive facet, which will clearly give us something to talk about over the tournament. Watch out world: Cristiane has arrived, and she's here to lift that World Cup!

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