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Brazil, and Marta, meet an unlikely end with an inability to score against Jamaica

Brazil, and Marta, meet an unlikely end with an inability to score against Jamaica

Jamaica is the answer to the quiz question of who was to blame for this finish, which ended the long and successful World Cup career of Brazil's Marta.

Marta's 20-year love affair with the World Cup is over after Jamaica, one of the tournament's many surprises, stopped Brazil from getting the win it needed to move on to the round of 16. Brazil and Jamaica played to a 0-0 tie in Melbourne.

"Here, Marta ends. Marta is done with the World Cup," she said. "I'm very thankful that I got to play in another World Cup, and I'm very happy with how women's football has been going in Brazil and around the world."

The same World Cup in which Jamaica won its first game was also the one in which it came second in its group, behind France, which easily beat Panama, 6-3.

It seems fitting that Jamaica knocked out Brazil and Marta, who has said she won't play in another World Cup, in a tournament where upsets are common, new stars are rising, and old stars are fading.

After drawing with France, which was thought to be one of the favourites before the event, and then winning its first World Cup game by beating Panama, Jamaica proved itself again on a cold night by stopping Brazil's few offensive moves.

As the Brazilians fell to the ground in disbelief, Jamaica's team ran across the pitch, barely able to believe what they had done. They had made it to the event after a cash crisis forced players to ask the public for money. Even its own players have been shocked by how quickly it has grown.

"Today might be the new best day in Jamaican football history," forward Kayla McKenna said in an interview. This was after the team's coach, Lorne Donaldson, said that the draw in the tournament's first game against France was the best day in the team's history.

Brazil has been a team to look up to in soccer for a long time. Leaving at the group stage is a low point they haven't hit since 1995, eight years before Marta wore the national colours for the first time.

Marta was given her first start of the tournament, a stage she has played on six times since her first appearance in 2003. She was mostly unable to make an impact on a game that seemed to pass her by at times until she was taken off with 11 minutes left.

Now that Marta is 37 and has been playing football for 23 years, she is older than some of her friends. She and the Brazilians were mostly stopped by a well-organized and tough Jamaican defence that surely would have been ready for a tougher opponent.

A few minutes after the game was over, Marta met quietly with Jamaica forward Khadija Shaw, who is likely to take over for her. Shaw, who goes by the name Bunny and is 26 years old, has called Marta a hero before, and it seemed like she told the Brazilian again how much she liked her when they were alone.

Marta replied with a nod and a thank you. She then pointed at Shaw and started talking in a lively way, as if she was giving the torch and the duty to keep the game going to young stars like her.