Author Topic: Women's World Cup soccer team is the pride of Brazil, president says  (Read 1171 times)

Offline David

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Brazil's appearance in the Women's World Cup final even got the country's president interested.

"We need to give more attention to women's soccer, because they by their own effort have become a motive of pride for all of us Brazilians," president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday in his weekly radio address.

Brazil, which is more used to its men's team succeeding in soccer, lost to defending champion Germany 2-0 in the final in Shanghai, China, but it was enough to garner support from Silva.

"I think we have to prepare other matches. In other words, these girls can't play only every four years or play now and then," Silva said.

Brazil's men have won the World Cup five times, but there was still a lack of enthusiasm for the women's game.

Sunday's final aired at 9:00 a.m. locally and drew sparse interest. When the men played in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, fans stayed up through the night to watch.

Silva said he watched Brazil, which upset top-ranked United States in the semifinals, play in the final against Germany.

"I think these girls, who are not as valued as they should be by the entities that deal with women's sports in Brazil, need to raise their heads and know that we are at the beginning a very long process and that they are valued, and have made Brazil proud," Silva said.

At the award ceremony in China, the Brazilian players held up a sign saying, "Brazil, we need support."

Marta, who was the World Cup's leading scorer with seven goals, told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the Brazilian Soccer Confederation should make good on its promise to financially support a national women's league.

"We can't let this promise pass again, as it passed after the 2004 Olympics," said Marta, referring to Brazil's loss to the Americans in the final at the Athens Games.