Wednesday 23 November 2016, 12:01

Brazil’s Duda sizing up her options

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 seems to be providing Brazil forward Duda with some answers to the questions she has been asking herself of late. Blessed with talent to burn, she has been pondering the options her skills have opened up to her, and which involve choosing a career in futsal or football and playing on the wing or down the middle.

“I think I love football just as much as futsal,” the Canarinha No9, who scored her side’s opening goal at Papua New Guinea 2016, told “Playing both games gives you an advantage or two, and I find it natural to use skills that you often see in futsal, like keeping your foot close to the ball, dribbling past opposing players and making bursts down the flanks.”

Born in Major Isidoro, in the state of Alagoas, Duda was Brazil’s leading scorer with seven goals at the South American U-20 Women’s Futsal Championship held in Paraguay four months ago. She is also enjoying her time with the national football team at Papua New Guinea 2016, where they kicked off with a 9-0 defeat of the hosts. A 4-2 defeat to Korea DPR in their second game promptly brought them back down to earth, however.

Overcoming adversityThat reverse left the Brazilians to fight it out with Sweden for a quarter-final place, a make-or-break game in which they fell behind to an early Stina Blackstenius goal. “It was a really tough match against a side that played well,” said Duda, looking back on the 1-1 draw that took Brazil through at the European side’s expense. “We managed to overcome all the problems they posed to us at the start, though, and come away with a valuable draw that took us into the next round.”

Waiting for the Brazilians in the last eight are Japan, who eased past Canada in their final game in Group A to top the section from Spain, who relinquished first place after losing to Nigeria.

“We knew we were going to come up against a tough side,” said Duda, looking ahead to Brazil’s meeting with the Japanese at Port Moresby’s National Football Stadium on Thursday. “We’ve seen for ourselves what a good team they are and how hard they are to play against. We’ve got to do our own preparations, though, no matter what their strengths are. We need to be focused on the job right from the start, play our game and not make mistakes. We’re hoping we can come away with the win.”

With her performances in Papua New Guinea, Duda seems to be finding some answers to the questions she has been asking herself about her future, with A Canarinha’s run to the last eight giving her the time to showcase her talent. The question now is, can she shed more light on her future path when she runs out against Japan?