South America is known for its flamboyant style of football—the confidence to try an audacious piece of skill that may or may not come off and the desire to wow those in attendance. But to date, the region has only had one FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finalist, and that was Brazil in 2007.
Marshalling the defence in that Final was towering centre-back Aline, who had the unenviable task of having to stop one of Germany’s greats, Birgit Prinz, and a hugely talented German team, that would go on to win the Final 2-0 in Shanghai.
But despite that defeat, the retired defender, who is now working as a football coordinator in her home country, ranks reaching that World Cup decider 12 years ago, as her career highlight.
"Beating USA 4-0 in the semi-final and then being so close to winning the trophy by reaching the Final, that competition was special for me," she said.
"The result of course didn’t go well for the team, but we did so well to get to that Final and for me personally, I was playing my best football at that time."
Having represented her country in two World Cups, Aline knows exactly what the Brazil players will be going through in the lead up to this year’s tournament in France.
'Nerves' and 'excitement', the words you would expect to hear, are terms she uses to describe the final weeks in the lead up to a major tournament. But Aline believes that if you take that away, then players should probably stop playing.
"For every professional player these weeks and months leading up to the competition make you feel quite nervous, but also excited.
"When players stop having this feeling, it’s time to stop playing, because it's part of the game to be nervous and excited about big World Cup games that are coming."
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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