Marta leads Brazil squad for women’s World Cup

Coach Pia Sundhage said Tuesday that veteran forward Marta will lead a fresh-faced Brazil hoping to pull off an upset and win its first women’s World Cup when the competition begins off next month.

At 37, the iconic number 10, regarded by many as the best female footballer of all time, will compete in her sixth World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after recovering from a knee injury that kept her out for over a year.

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“Marta is the ‘Queen’, the icon, and just to be around her is contagious,” Sundhage told reporters as she announced her 23-player squad.

“In the final pass, she is one of the best. Would she start in the line-up? I don’t know yet.”

Champions of the Copa America Brazil is at a generational crossroads and is not expected to win the World Cup.

Sundhage chose 11 players who would make their World Cup debuts, while he also named tournament veterans such as goalkeepers Leticia and Barbara, defenders Kathellen, Rafaelle, and Tamires, and strikers Bia Zaneratto, Andressa Alves, and Debinha.

Brazil, who is in Group F with France, Jamaica, and Panama, will begin their World Cup campaign against Panama on July 24 in Adelaide.

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