Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Brazil's Marta dedicates World Cup record to 'anyone fighting for equality' - in pictures

Marta's 74th-minute penalty against Italy took Brazil into the last 16 and her World Cup tally to 17, one more than Miroslav Klose in the men's tournament

Marta dedicated becoming the all-time leading scorer at the World Cup to "anyone fighting for more equality".

The Brazil legend scored the only goal as the South Americans secured a 1-0 win over Italy in Valenciennes on Tuesday to book their place in the last 16.

"This record doesn't belong to me, it belongs to all of us," said the 33-year-old striker after crashing home a penalty on 74 minutes.

"I share it with anyone fighting for more equality."

It was her 17th World Cup goal across four tournaments - and her 113th for Brazil - moving her one ahead of Germany's Miroslav Klose in the men's tournament.

"Do you think he'll change his mind about retiring and play at the next World Cup?" Marta joked in reference to passing Klose's record.

The victory took Brazil to six points from three games. They will qualify as one of the best third-placed teams after finishing level on points but behind both Italy and Australia, who beat Jamaica 4-1 on Tuesday.

France topped Group A with a 100 per cent record, but Marta, who was winning her 146th cap for Brazil, said her and her teammates would not be fazed by facing the hosts next.

"To play against the host nation would be a privilege. The stadium would be full of fans singing," she said.

"I love playing in front of a big crowd whether it's supporting me or is against me. I just want there to be fans who are watching us."

Marta is widely considered the greatest player in the history of the women's game and was hailed by her teammates as an inspiration for others wanting to take up the male-dominated sport.

"She is like an icon for us and I think every year she is breaking records and that's no just important for us but for all of women's soccer. I'm so happy she is Brazilian," said centre-back Monica.

Fellow defender Tamires added: "We have a lot of young players coming up and I hope they look to her and how she plays, what makes her so special and so incredible and follow her."

Marta's winner overshadowed another historic feat for Sam Kerr, who became the first Australian to score a World Cup hat-trick as she crashed four past eliminated Jamaica in Grenoble.

"It's one to tell my kids about," Kerr said. "Any time you break a record, especially for your country, it is an amazing feeling."

The Matildas will play Norway in Nice in the last 16 on Saturday.

Updated: June 20, 2019 05:09 AM

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