Opinion: At 41 and playing in her seventh World Cup, Brazil's Formiga one for the ages

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As the U.S. Women’s National Team defends their 2016 World Cup title, they are also fighting a long and drawn out battle for equal pay.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY

There is one constant in women’s soccer — and it’s not the domination by the U.S. women.

On Sunday, Brazil’s Formiga will play in her seventh World Cup, a record. To put that in perspective, of the 552 players in France, there were 150 who weren’t even born yet when Formiga made her World Cup debut back in 1985.

“She is one of the greatest examples we have in the world, if not of this planet,” Brazil coach Vadao said when he announced his roster last month. “I could not stay out of such a project.”

Making this all the more impressive is that Formiga isn’t relegated to the end of the bench, a mascot-like figure who will never make it into a game. The 41-year-old is still a starter at defensive midfield, a position that requires both stamina, athleticism and savvy.

Four years ago, she scored the winner in a group game against South Korea. During a game at the Rio Olympics in 2016, she saved what could have been a devastating goal with a perfectly timed tackle.

“I train a lot, I’m very dedicated…

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