The Canaries have named a strong squad for the four-nation tournament involving India, Chile and Venezuela.

History beckons the Indian women’s football team as they gear up for participation in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup next year. The 12-team competition is the final stage of Asian qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and the Blue Tigresses have a golden opportunity to make it to the blockbuster event. To do so, they must finish within the top five (top six if World Cup hosts Australia finish in top five) at the Asian competition. Set to be held from January 20 to February 6 next year, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup will also be hosted by India.

Led by head coach Thomas Dennerby, the intentions of the Indian women’s team are clear. They want to create a good impact in the competition, which is why work has begun within the side. After his appointment, Dennerby made it clear that he wanted the team to play as many matches as possible. He said he wanted 25 games, but given the prevailing COVID-19 scenario and related problems, it has been difficult for the Blue Tigresses to play matches.

India’s recent performances

The team recently played six matches in Dubai, Hamad Town and Stockholm, at the end of a preparatory camp. Four of those were international friendlies and the remaining two were friendlies against Swedish clubs. The results were as follows:

  • UAE 1-4 India
  • India 0-1 Tunisia
  • Bahrain 0-5 India
  • India 1-0 Chinese Taipei
  • Hammarby IF (Swedish club) 3-2 India
  • Djurgardens IF (Swedish club) 1-0 India.

Despite eventually losing three of the above games, India put up good displays in almost all of them.

However, that’s not all as far as the Blue Tigresses’ AFC Women’s Asian Cup preparations are concerned. Dennerby and Co. have since travelled to Brazil to participate in a four-nation international tournament. Chile, Venezuela and hosts Brazil are the other teams that will take part in the tournament, which will kick-off in Manaus on November 25.

It goes without saying that this is a special opportunity for the Indian women’s football team. This is not only because they will be getting more game-time ahead of the Asian Cup, but also because they will be facing a star-studded Brazilian side. Brazil are currently ranked seventh in the FIFA Rankings as opposed to India’s 57th and they have named a strong squad for the international tournament.

Today, Khel Now takes a look at five of the best players in this Brazil squad led by head coach Pia Sundhage. The team will be facing India in their opening clash on November 25.

5. Tamires Cassia Dias Gomes

Tamires Indian Women's Football Team
Tamires and Adriana won the Copa Libertadores with Corinthians on Monday (Courtesy- Time Brasil Media)

Popularly known as ‘Tamires,’ the 34-year-old plays as a left-back for Brazilian top flight club Corinthians apart from the national team. On Monday, she captained Corinthians to their third title at the Copa Libertadores, the continental club competition organized by CONMEBOL. Prior to that, she was also the skipper of the side that retained their Brazilian league title from last season.

Tamires has been a part of the Brazilian national team since 2013 and has made over 110 appearances for the Canaries. She was in the Brazil squad that won the Copa America in 2014 and 2018 and the Pan-American Games in 2015. She also participated at the 2015 and 2019 editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as at the 2016 Olympic Games.

4. Duda

Duda Indian Women's Football Team
Duda in action for Brazil in a recent training session (Courtesy- CBF Media)

Maria Eduarda Francelino da Silva, commonly known as Duda plays as a forward for Sao Paulo and the Brazilian national team. She can also play as a midfielder. The 26-year-old made her senior International debut in 2014, at just 19 years of age. Prior to that, she was also a regular in the Canaries’ U-20 team. She won the South American U-20 Championship once with them.

An excellent finisher, Duda is famous for her long rangers, both from open play and dead ball situations. She is an important part of Sao Paulo as well and was a part of their side that featured in this season’s Copa Libertadores. Although Sao Paulo got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, the Brazilian made her presence felt with an impressive goal.

Duda’s recent exploits with the Brazilian team include the Tokyo Olympics and the two friendlies against Australia in October.

3. Adriana Leal da Silva

The forward scored against Australia in a recent friendly (Courtesy- CBF Media)

Adriana, like Tamires, plays for Corinthians and Brazil. She was also a part of the Corinthians’ side that won the Brazilian Serie A league and the Copa Libertadores this year. The 25-year-old forward made her debut for the senior national team in 2017, but has not made many appearances since. She was left out of the Canaries’ Copa America 2018 squad and later got ruled out of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics due to two different injuries.

The upcoming international tournament will present Adriana a new opportunity to make it count, after scoring against Australia in a recent friendly. Barring the injury issues, she is regarded as one of the most promising footballers in the side. She is also expected to succeed the likes of Marta and lead the line for their national team in the future.

And that brings us to…

2. Marta Vieira da Silva

Marta’s recent goal for Orlando Lions Vs Kansas City in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)

The famous Marta is one of the all-time greats of Brazilian football. She is her country’s top international goalscorer with 112 strikes and has made over 160 senior appearances for her national team. With 17 goals, the 35-year-old also holds the record for the most goals scored in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Easily the most recognized international star in women’s football, Marta is also regarded as the greatest female footballer of all-time. She is a six-time recipient of the FIFA World Player of the Year award, winning it five times in a row between 2006 and 2010 and once more in 2018. Her long list of achievements also includes the UEFA Women’s Cup, Copa Libertadores, and silver medals in the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

In 2007, Brazil recorded their best-ever finish in a FIFA Women’s World Cup when they finished as runners-up. Marta stole the show throughout the tournament, eventually winning both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball. Renowned for her flair, quick feet and exceptional skills on the ball, she is a legend of the game. Also one of Brazil’s leadership figures, she can play anywhere in attack and even as an attacking midfielder. Having debuted for the senior national team in 2002, Marta’s longevity is another stellar quality. This is her 19th year with the Canaries.

1. Formiga

The midfielder has made over 200 appearances for the Brazilian senior national team

Miraildes Maciel Mota, commonly known as Formiga must be one of the oldest stars still actively pursuing a career in professional football. Aged 43, Formiga has announced that the upcoming game against India will be her last in Brazilian colours. The Indian women’s football team are truly blessed to be a part of her legacy.

She is the only player who has been present in all women’s football tournaments at the Olympics, since their first edition in 1996. She also holds the record for appearing at seven different FIFA Women’s World Cups. The midfielder has made over 230 appearances for the Brazilian senior national team and has scored 29 goals. She has also plied her trade for some big clubs including Santos, Sao Paulo and Paris Saint-Germain.

Formiga debuted for Brazil as a 17-year-old, in 1995! Her international career has spanned 26 years, during which she has won many laurels, both individual and as a team. She has won the Copa Libertadores thrice, the International Women’s Club Championship once and two silver medals at the Olympics, at Athens and Beijing.

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