14/04/2024

Hat-trick hero Ary Borges celebrates a goal with Brazil icon Marta. (Image: FIFA Women's Worlds Cup Twitter)

Panama made its World Cup debut against Brazil, but it was a As Canarinhas World Cup debutant that stole the headlines and sealed the points for her side.

On Monday night, Adelaide locals were quickly reminded that when their city drew Brazil in its FIFA Women’s World Cup allocation it drew the fanfare that the football conglomerate attracts.

Two hours before kickoff, roughly 1,000 Brazil fans shut down Port Road and marched in numbers towards Hindmarsh Stadium.

The Seleção entered the encounter as the overwhelming favourites and with the support of a partisan “home” crowd, despite being an enormous 14 thousand kilometres from Brazil, Pia Sundhage’s side was always going to make life difficult for World Cup debutants Panama.

Coach Nacho Quintana was clear that he wanted his side to continue on its joyous ways while positively representing the people of Panama, who would have looked on proudly as their national anthem was sung with clear emotion for the first time on the global stage of women’s football.

The gap in experience became clear from the outset, with Las Canaleras’ goalkeeper Yenith Bailey having to intervene to thwart Brazil’s Adriana when she slipped the defence in the first attack of the game.

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Panama fought hard to contain Brazil in its FIFA Women’s World Cup debut, but it was a debutant on the opposition side that left her mark on the contest.

Every party needs its star and less than a minute after blazing her own shot over the bar, Debinha lowered her eyes and picked out Ary Borges who headed truly to record her first World Cup goal while sending Hindmarsh Stadium into raptures just 19 minutes after kick-off.

The pregame celebrations continued on in the stands and flowed onto the pitch, with Borges’ emotional celebration concluding a moment no one in attendance would forget anytime soon.

The goal allowed Brazil to play its game comfortably without the need to force chances as the As Canarinha’s veterans began to tighten their grip on the match against their inexperienced counterparts.

Six minutes before the break, veteran left-back Tamires delivered a perfect cross to her young teammate Ary Borges who saw her effort saved before following up to double her account on the rebound, making it a dream half of football for the Racing Louisville midfielder.

Borges wasted no time after the restart to make an impact, after controlling Debinha’s ball in the box before unselfishly flicking the goal back to Bia Zaneratto who joined her teammate on the scoresheet.

The goal made the rounds around the world, with coach Pia Sundhage accepting no credit for the smooth football, calling it a “typical Brazilian goal,” which combines passion, unpredictability, and excellent technique; something that she stated cannot be taught by a coach.

Brazil continued teaching a lesson in game management, continuing to suffocate Panama and the 23-year-old midfielder recorded her hat-trick from a header that came from yet another cross originating from the left-hand side, this time from substitute Geyse.

Five minutes after recording a hat-trick in her World Cup debut, Borges was substituted for the legendary Marta, with the moment special for the young footballer who admittedly views the veteran as a hero also potentially signifying a changing of the guard in the coming years.

Panama grew into the game, but it was too little too late, with Brazil having sealed all three points earlier in the match.

Despite Brazil not adding any further goals to its tally, fans fawned over every touch the legendary Marta took as the Seleção looks to claim their first Women’s World Cup crown and send an icon off a hero in what is presumably her last tournament on the global stage.

While Borges spent her post-game interview heaping praise on her squad, her family, and hero-turned-teammate Marta, her teammates were quick to give their hat-trick hero the credit she rightfully earned.

Captain Rafaelle Souza shared her joy in her teammate’s dream World Cup debut with The Inner Sanctum after the game.

“It makes me feel so happy, it is amazing to play with such skillful players. It is amazing for her, in her first game of her first World Cup, to score a hat-trick, it is good for us to have a young player step up, hopefully, she can keep going in the next matches,” Souza stated.

Left-back Tamires, who assisted one of Borges’ goals echoed her captain’s praise for her young teammate, crediting her for her hard work in the process of building for her first World Cup.

“I feel so good for her, she deserves it because she works so hard every day and is growing all the time. I felt good putting in a cross and seeing her score it is always good to be of assistance!,” Tamires said.

Both Souza and Tamires also went out of their way to credit their fans for creating a party atmosphere and making them feel like they are playing at home.

The Brazilian fans could not have been any more satisfied with their team’s performance, putting a side they were expected to beat to the sword when fellow Group F heavyweights France dropped a point against Jamaica 24 hours earlier.

Brazil began its quest to win its first Women’s World Cup crown in the most positive way and will be hoping to consolidate on its gains when it comes up against France, its biggest challenger for the top spot of Group F, on Saturday.

Panama faced the bittersweet feeling of finally breaking into the top stage of women’s football albeit coming across a far superior side on the day.

Nacho Quintana’s side now takes on Jamaica, the match most likely to see it earn its first points in this tournament and a fixture that shapes up as a grudge match after the Reggae Girlz eliminated Las Canaleras in their effort to make the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

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