SHANGHAI (AFP) - Fleet-footed Marta might have been voted player of the tournament but she is crestfallen after missing a vital penalty in the World Cup final against Germany.
The wonder striker, often compared to Ronaldinho and called 'Pele in a skirt' by the great Brazilian himself, skipped and danced her way through defences here before the rock-solid Germans blunted her edge.
But some of the gloss was taken off when she missed a second-half penalty to level Sunday's match at 1-1. Germany went on to win 2-0.
"We fought really hard to reach this final and just getting there was a historic step for us. Unfortunately we paid a heavy price for our mistakes," she admitted.
"We weren't clinical in front of goal, my luck deserted me from the penalty spot, we hit the woodwork two or three times and we didn't manage to dictate the tempo of the game.
"But that's football. Sometimes, however good you are you don't get what you want and today just wasn't our day."
Marta arrived in China with a host of accolades to her name. After being named Women's World Player in 2006, she followed up by helping the Canarinhas to gold at the recent Pan-American Games.
True to the swaggering style of her compatriots, the 21-year-old lived up to all expectations in China, using her pace and technique to full effect.
Her efforts were rewarded with the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament.
With Brazil going further than ever before at the World Cup, Marta appealed to the Brazilian football authorities to start putting their money where their mouths are and back the game more rigorously.
"We've proven that we're getting better every year despite not having a national league championship in Brazil," she told Fifa.com.
"The players do everything in their power to keep playing. Some have a club side, others don't and train by themselves.
"I think that if there were more incentives and support available then Brazil could go even further.
"Now more than ever the Brazilian authorities need to do something for us in return, so we can take on the big teams like Germany and the USA on an equal footing. Those teams have the full support of their countries."
She added that she hoped her performances would encourage young girls all over the world to take up the game to help lift it to another level.
"I'd say to them that if they have a dream, if they enjoy football and really want to play, then they shouldn't give up," she said.
"Women's football can be a struggle, but us Brazilians are here fighting to open up more opportunities and smooth the path for them."
|Coach: S. Neid|
for M. Behringer 74'
for S. Smisek 80'
|Belenenses 0 Pacos de Ferreira 1: Moreira seals rare away win|
|Juve angry at Roma draw - Allegri|
|Roma 1 Juventus 1: Keita keeps slim Scudetto hopes alive|
|Celta Vigo 1 Elche 1: Controversial late penalty gives visitors a point|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Gala extend lead at the top|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco: Jardim rejects de-facto final talk|
|Stuttgart, Freiburg named in doping claims|
|Dyche hails Ings determination ahead of Liverpool showdown|
|Newcastle United v Manchester United: Mata out to make more memories|
|England winger Johnson suspended after arrest on underage sex charge|
|Liverpool back in the black|
|Jedinak charged with violent conduct|
|BREAKING NEWS: Police make arrest on underage sex charge amid reports England international is held|
|Schone delighted to extend Ajax deal|
|Montolivo and De Jong suffer injuries|
|Bayern Munich v Eintracht Braunschweig: ´Self-critical´ holders in no mood to ease off, says Muller|
|Tottenham v Swansea City: Pochettino out to banish League Cup disappointment|
|QPR v Arsenal: Austin ready for survival fight|
|Sherwood: No hard feelings over missing out on West Brom job|
|Chelsea and Everton fined for fracas|
|Villarreal v Barcelona: Final in sight for visitors|
|Stoke City v Everton: Howard calls for back-to-basics approach|
|Pearson: I understand Pellegrini pressures|
|West Brom sweating on fitness of Berahino and Ideye|
|Manchester City v Leicester City: Pellegrini demands response|
|Feyenoord and Roma face UEFA charges|
|Liverpool v Burnley: Rodgers full of respect for visitors|
|Brown has red card overturned|
|Rodgers heaps praise on Allen|
|Koeman critical of Jedinak elbow|
|Bruce hits back at Hughes over Figueroa challenge|
|Koeman sets 61-point target for Southampton|
|Ibe set to miss a month with knee injury|
|Klopp looking to maintain momentum|
|Bent out for three to four weeks with hamstring injury|
|Schmidt ready for Kaiserslautern clash|
|West Ham v Chelsea: Mourinho turning attention back to the league|
|Barca must not be distracted by Clasico, says Busquets|
|Terry rules out England return|
|De Boer demands more despite PSV win|
|Bony: We have to win every game|
|Subotic rejects Serbia call-up|
|Benitez frustrated at refereeing decisions|
|Real Madrid must learn from Villarreal draw - Marcelo|
|QPR announce losses of £9.8m|
|Rutten to leave Feyenoord|
|First trophy for ´new´ Chelsea - Mourinho|
|Icardi the future of Inter, says Ausilio|
|Patience needed from ´brilliant´ United fans - Rooney|
|Allen hails ´next level´ Coutinho|
|Points over milestones for Cisse|
|Hecking ´furious´ with Wolfsburg defence|
|CONCACAF Champions League Preview: DC United face uphill task to reach semis|
|AFC Champions League Preview: Al Ain enhanced, Wanderers prepare for Evergrande reunion|
|Coupe de France Preview: PSG, Monaco to meet again|
|Crouch happy to silence doubters|
|Blanc questions rivals´ mental strength as PSG gain ground|
|Kane: Fortune favoured Chelsea|
|Ancelotti defends Isco substitution|
|Rooney: Di Maria will come good|
|Stubborn Villarreal impress Real´s Pepe|
|PSG could not ´kill off´ Monaco - Van der Wiel|
|Serie A Review: Napoli suffer defeat at Torino, Lazio lurking|
|Ligue 1 Review: Title chasers´ slip-ups go unpunished|
|La Liga Review: Real and Atletico suffer frustrating draws|
|Primeira Liga Review: Porto´s Tello dents Sporting´s title hopes|
|Monaco 0 PSG 0: Champions miss chance to go top|
|Real Madrid 1 Villarreal 1: Moreno leveller ensures stalemate|
|Simeone satisfied with Sevilla point|
|Henry: Chelsea can win a trophy treble this season|
|Mancini frustrated by ´hesitant´ Inter|
|Sevilla 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men in fiery draw|
|Pochettino upbeat despite League Cup defeat|
|Inter 0 Fiorentina 1: Montella´s men end San Siro wait|
|Bundesliga Review: Wolfsburg edge eight-goal thriller, Monchengladbach win|
|Mourinho revels in ´beautiful´ League Cup success|
|Eredivisie Review: PSV lose home record as Ajax close the gap|
|Terry thrilled by ´massive´ League Cup final win|
|Chelsea 2 Tottenham 0: Mourinho´s men seal League Cup success|
|Coquelin sustains broken nose|
|Wenger hails Giroud character after Everton goal|
|Everton not getting what they deserve - Martinez|
|Coutinho is coming of age at Anfield - Rodgers|
|Football League Preview: Wolves in the hunt for back-to-back promotions|
|Norwich City 2 Ipswich Town 0: Neil´s men go third with derby triumph|
|Southampton v Crystal Palace: Fonte focusing on big picture|
|Arsenal 2 Everton 0: Giroud strikes to silence doubters|
|Dynamo Dresden v Borussia Dortmund: Hummels eager to build on derby win|
|Rodgers tips hat to relentless Liverpool|
|City facing uphill challenge to retain title - Pellegrini|
|Celtic 4 Aberdeen 0: Champions dominate top-of-the-table clash|
|Lallana hails ´massive´ win as Liverpool´s top-four charge continues|
|Hull City v Sunderland: Cattermole allowing no excuses against ´bogey team´|
|Liverpool 2 Manchester City 1: Coutinho dents City´s title hopes|
|Sunderland to appeal Brown red card|
|Aston Villa v West Brom: Sherwood looking for confidence boost|
|Allegri not taking risks on Vidal and Pogba|
|Pardew defends Jedinak over Sakho elbow|
|Heldt apologises after Schalke´s derby humbling|
|Milan must give that bit extra - Bocchetti|
|Rooney: Brown red must be rescinded|
|Monk hails Swansea´s versatility|
|Melbourne Victory 2 Wellington Phoenix 3: Hosts miss chance to go top|
|Rodgers: Top-four finish would be bigger than last season´s effort|
|Batman and Robin ´a bit of fun´ - Reus|
|Rakitic feeling better after ending goal drought|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Well-rested Cruzeiro ready for Universitario|
|Fournier fuming after Lyon loss|
|DFB Pokal Preview: Gladbach visit rusty Offenbach|
|Mourinho: Tottenham approached me|
|Primeira Liga Review: Birthday boys Benfica hit Estoril for six|