Behind Ary Borges’ hat trick, the Brazilian national team pitched together a stunning first match of the Women’s World Cup, putting the rest of the pack on notice.
Within the first minute of the match against Panama, there was a feeling. If it was not for Yenith Bailey between the sticks, Orlando Pride’s Adriana would have scored inside 40 seconds.
Pia Sundhage’s Brazil, the defending Copa América Femenina champions are a team filled with creativity, flare, and excitement. Everyone feeds off one another. It is not just a bunch of individual top class players. The former USWNT head coach has figured out a way of creating a system that gets the most out of these ultra-talented attacking-minded players.
According to Sportsline before the competition, Brazil was sitting at +2500 odds to win the tournament. Eight other teams had better odds of hoisting the world title. That realistically makes no sense, and in the nation’s first World Cup match, they made a statement of intent in Group F. With the incentive of winning for Brazilian legend Marta, this team will do anything it can to challenge in the later rounds of this competition.
If Sundhage’s side does go on to win the group, the runners-up from Group H will be waiting. On the surface, that should be a contest that Brazil should be heavily favored in. The yellow and green obliterated Argentina 4-0 in the 2022 Copa America Femenina, and have outscored Italy 20-6 in nine contests in the past.
While Sweden struggled to beat South Africa, and Canada had to settle for a draw against Nigeria, the Brazilians were having a party in a 4-0 victory over the overmatched CONCACAF side, Panama. France came out of the gate against Jamacia, only managing to collect a point. The green and yellow are now in the driver’s seat, and they did it in the most fashionable way possible.
There was dancing, there was finesse, and there were certainly calm finishes in the attacking third. That was what makes Brazilian football so exciting bottled up into a single contest. The world saw an attempted bicycle kick, some top quality first touches, and several intelligent one-twos. The third goal essentially sums it up. There may never be a more fluid piece of link-up play the rest of the tournament. The unselfishness, the quality, and the creativity. It was like a Broadway show on turf with people watching around the world. This team projects pure joy, and if there are any neutrals out there, this would be a team to root for. The potential story would be something special if the South American’s could pull it off.
Brazil, a team the combine both quality and fun, is almost impossible not to root for at the World Cup
Nine players that made it onto the pitch against the Caribbean outfit completed over 80 percent of their passes. Of course, it is Panama, the No. 52 ranked team according to the FIFA World Rankings. That should not diminish the kind of performance the South American side pieced together to open up their World Cup campaign.
While other nations had problems with that final ball in the opening contest, Brazil put on a clinic in the midst of entertaining the majority. The last time the South American powerhouse made it past the quarterfinals was in 2011. Breaking that streak is not out of the realm of possibility.
Made up of eight players that play their club football in the National Women’s Soccer League in the United States, it should not be a shock to any USWNT fans the class this side showed against Panama. When you put all that creativity, and purpose on the pitch at the same time, magic tends to happen. That is what we saw from Brazil to open the Women’s World Cup. This is a team defined not only by individual one on one quality, but an immense amount of imagination that has the ability to take the world by storm for the next few weeks.