RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s 41-year-old midfielder Formiga is set to become the first player, male or female, to participate at seven World Cups after she was named in their squad on Thursday for the women’s tournament in France.
The Paris St Germain midfielder currently shares the record of playing in six World Cups with Homare Sawa, who led Japan’s women to their 2011 World Cup triumph.
In the men’s tournament, three players have played in five World Cups — Mexico’s Rafael Marquez and Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lothar Matthaeus.
If Formiga plays in France she will also become the oldest to appear in a women’s World Cup.
“She is one of the greatest examples in the world, we always joke she is not from this planet,” coach Vadao said in announcing the squad. “She is a reference to us and there’s no way we could leave her out.”
Formiga is joined in the squad by several other well-known faces, including Marta, the six-times World Player of the year.
Marta, who is going to her fifth World Cup, is the top scorer in the history of the tournament with 15 goals.
Copa America champions Brazil have selected 15 players who appeared in the 2015 edition of the World Cup.
They kick off their campaign against Jamaica on June 9 before facing Australia and Italy.
The World Cup begins on June 7.
Although they have appeared in all seven Women’s World Cup tournaments, the South Americans have yet to lift the trophy, with their best performance coming as runners-up to Germany in 2007.
They are also heading to France under a cloud, having lost their last nine games, their worst run ever. Vadao blamed that streak on injuries and lack of preparation.
“We never trained together during this bad run,” he said. “We arrived two days beforehand and had to set up our team a day in advance. And we had a lot of injuries to key players in the squad.
“We had difficulties, without doubt, but now we will be together for 15 days. That is a lot for us and the players know that. We are now organised and know what we have to do.”
Brazil sit 10th in the world rankings, their lowest position since the ranking system began.
Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar