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- Luciana saved three penalties to get Ferroviaria to Libertadore’s final place
- She discusses the dramatic evening and upcoming opponents America
- Luciana remembers that she almost stopped playing football in 2015
Euclid of Alexandria wrote a book on mathematical exceptions. Luciana from Araraquara shows her successor.
In fact, while arithmeticians say about 75 percent of sanctions are successfully converted, Luciana says, ‘Not while I’m in town’. Deep into Thursday night, for the fifteenth time in her career, the 33-year-old emerged as the shootout hero, holding out three spot kicks to snatch Ferroviaria a spot in the Copa Libertadores final.
Luciana, Brazil’s first-choice goalkeeper at the FIFA Women’s World Cup ™ Canada 2015, spoke FIFA.com about the showdown with America on Sunday night, her semifinal heroics, learning from Dida and Taffarel, Ferroviaria fans and a special tattoo.
In sudden death, Rebeca Fernandez had a penalty kick to put Universidad in the final. What went through you when she went up to take it?
I heard Luana scream, ‘It’s not over, Ana Alice.’ I looked over and Ana Alice was desperate. Luana screamed, ‘Don’t cry, (raises voice further) this is not over.’ I said to myself, ‘I can not let this happen.’ Ana Alice has been huge for us in this Libertadores. Play after match. I could not let her be the villain, it would have been a great injustice. I was absolutely determined to save it. I prayed to God, waited until the last minute so I could go the right way, and thank God that I managed to save it.
Did Ana Alice thank you after the game?
She came to me and said thank you, but I said to her, ‘It is me who must thank you. You never let the ball get near my goal. ‘When that happens, I have to do my best just like Ana Alice, the defenders and the rest of the team do all the play.
How did you feel when you saved the last penalty kick to put Ferroviaria in the final?
Enormous happiness. Such gratitude to God and my teammates. We lost our first match 4-0. We were a penalty kick away from losing [in the semi-final]. Everything that goes through your head. What a moment.
Did you see the reaction from your coach Lindsay Camila when you saved the penalty?
(Laughs) I saw, I saw! Down on his knees and crying. I thought it was really cool. Football is so emotional. We received a lot of criticism at the beginning of the campaign, so it was a moment of great relief, happiness. It’s really emotional to see her get emotional!
Is your penalty-saving expertise a natural gift or something you have been working on?
Penalties are so crucial in football. How often do they decide championships? So I have practiced a lot against penalties, and I have also studied some of the big penalty savers a lot – not only women but also men. Dida has always been someone I have admired a lot. Dida was always so numb that you never saw any expression on his face. I think I managed to get some of it from him. This is a great advantage because you have to be numb when you are a goalkeeper, and even more so when you face penalties. I’m also a big fan of Taffarel. I’m old (laughs) so I was lucky to see a lot of Dida and a little Taffarel. I have also studied videos of Taffarel. Dida and Taffarel are great inspirations for me. I really like and have tried to learn from Alisson, Weverton and Tadeu too. I think the more you study and practice, the better you will become.
You mentioned losing your opener 4-0 and you were about to go out after pulling your second outing. Can you believe you have reached the final?
We did not expect to be beaten in the first game. But it happens in football. You can let it pull you down, or you can be united and say, ‘Let’s go out there and fix it’. We had a chat in the locker room after the game and it made us stronger. No one else believed in us, but we believed in ourselves. Draw was not the result we were looking for either, but we were calm and convinced to go into the third game and we played really well and got the big win we needed.
The Corinthians, the overwhelming favorites to win the Libertadores, lost on penalties in the semifinals. Did you feel relieved that you did not have to face such a strong team?
No, we wanted Corinthians in the final, we wanted another Brazilian team in the final. I have some good friends in the Corinthians and I was really sorry they did not reach the final. The same goes for Kindermann – we always want the Brazilian teams to do well. The Corinthians are a magnificent team – there are no words to describe them. I hope they can put it behind them and win the playoffs in third place. I know they are really cheering on us in the final. It does not matter if it is us, Korinther, Kindermann. What matters is that we win this trophy for Brazil.
What do you think of America?
A really hard side. They are such warriors – they never give up until the end. They have a lot of quality and we know they have so much struggle in them that we will have to match this. But we are very confident that we will win the victory.
Can you tell us about the love the Ferroviaria fans have for you?
It’s really moving. Ever since I arrived in Araraquara in 2013, they have been so nice to me. When I was down and needed it, they showed me love. The Ferroviaria fans are really special. ‘Love’ – that’s the only word I can use to describe our relationship. It feels really good to make them happy and I really hope we can win this title for these incredible followers.
One of them, Rafael Zocco, has a huge tattoo of you on his leg …
(Laughs) It’s amazing. They told me about it and I did not believe it. So they sent me a WhatsApp picture and I still thought it was fake, a photoshop. I did not think about it anymore, but they made me see it in person and I could not believe my eyes! I had never ever imagined that a fan would get a tattoo of me, but still one so big. I was really emotional when I saw it. What an honor!
All this might not have happened if you had stopped playing football in 2015 …
I was really sorry, really down. I had a hard time. I had had enough of football. I wanted to go away, but my family did not let me. They supported me so much and thank God I returned to training and am here today, very happy to do what I love. I hope I’m happier tonight after the final!