Women’s World Cup: Marta breaks scoring record

CNN  — 

She’s possibly the greatest soccer player you’ve never heard of.

Marta has won virtually every individual and team honor available throughout her illustrious career – and now the Brazilian has another record to add to her collection.

Her penalty in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over South Korea at the 2015 Women’s World Cup propelled her to the top of the tournament’s all-time goalscorer list with 15 goals.

She surpassed retired Germany international Brigit Prinz and went two ahead of current USWNT star Abby Wambach who, at 35 years of age, is surely playing in her last World Cup.

It was fitting that her record-breaking goal came from the penalty spot against South Korea, 12 years after her first for Brazil at a World Cup – which, incidentally, was also a penalty against the same opposition.

However, the one major trophy to evade the 29-year-old has been the World Cup.

Widely regarded as the best female footballer of all time, can she really be considered the greatest ever without winning football’s biggest prize?

It is a question often asked about Argentina star Lionel Messi.

Although, Marta has an international record and Ballon d’Or haul that would make even Messi’s eyes water.

Her goal on Tuesday took her to an incredible 92 goals in 93 matches for her country, while she has five FIFA World Player of the Year awards which came in consecutive years between 2006 and 2010.

Often referred to as “the female Pele” – and by Pele himself as “Pele with skirts” – Marta has long been an advocate for equality in women’s football.

“I think it has changed a bit but that mentality still exists,” she told CNN in 2013. “There’s still prejudice and that resistance regarding women not only on female football but in various activities.

“Men think that women are a bit fragile to perform some types of activities or don’t have the ability and aren’t strong enough.

“That doesn’t exist anymore. Women have shown they have capabilities in every sense better than men a lot of time, but it’s that whole macho thing.

“Football in Brazil is seen as a masculine sport, even with a lot of people accepting the female sport. There’s still a percentage that thinks like in the old days.”

Despite there being undoubtedly a long way to go, a lot of progress has been made.

In the USA, 3.3 million people tuned in to watch their team’s opener against Australia, more than tripling the viewing figures from the first game at the previous World Cup.

Similarly in England, television viewers peaked at 2.4 million during the country’s 1-0 defeat against France, almost double the 1.3 million that watched them during the European Championship in 2013.

Perhaps the most impressive figure came from the host nation Canada, whose 1.8 million viewers during their team’s tournament opener against China made it the most watched Women’s World Cup match ever in the country.

“There is hope for the future,” Marta said two years ago.

With her exceptional talents and record-breaking achievements, she certainly forms a large part of that hope.