RIO DE JANEIRO -- The outstretched arms of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue are visible, if only just, from the upper reaches of Maracana Stadium in the Olympic host city. But it was divine inspiration on a far less grand scale that Brazilian players were seeking during a soccer quarterfinal against Australia in Belo Horizonte.In that moment, their tournament future at the mercy of penalty kicks, one player kneels with hands on her thighs and head bowed. Another stands and stares skyward with eyes closed, arms across the shoulders of teammates. Two players hold their hands to their faces in what looks like a mixture of prayer and apprehension. In the middle kneels Marta, the star, something close to pain on her flushed face, as a generations best player waits to see if her teammates can absolve her of failure.A place in the Olympic semifinals is a lot, but much more was on the line in that moment.Most national teams in some way serve as representatives of their countries. That may be true of this team, too, but its more discernible role is as the representative of womens soccer to Brazil.The development of womens soccer depends a lot on everything that involves the womens national team, Marta explained during the buildup to the Olympics.After playing to a 0-0 stalemate over 120 minutes Friday against Australia -- the team that eliminated it sooner than most expected in last years FIFA Womens World Cup -- Brazil survived a penalty shootout in the most unlikely manner. Marta, the fifth player to shoot for her team, was the first to see her shot saved. If Australia had made its next kick, Brazil would have been out. Instead, goalkeeper Barbara made the first of two saves and Brazil won in eight rounds.The reward is a place in Tuesdays semifinal, in front of what is expected to be close to a sellout in the massive Maracana -- with a capacity of more than 70,000.Like most Olympics, the event raises questions as to the need for lavish spending on facilities that may go unused when the rest of the world leaves town. Also visible from the Maracana are some of Rios favelas -- buildings and people tightly packed together in these neighborhoods of poverty and violence. Staging an athletic spectacle such as the Olympics necessarily comes at the expense of the part of the local population most in need of investment.Yet in a stadium that has been part of the Rio landscape for decades, albeit recently remodeled, the Olympics can leave something that lasts long after the world departs. A gold medal for the Brazil women, still two wins away, could leave a generation empowered to play a game and much more. But perhaps only if they win -- the one thing they have not done in a major tournament.I think that, generally speaking, the results that we have gotten -- two Olympic silver medals, a runner-up finish in the World Cup -- those have been our best moments for the womens national team, Marta said before this tournament. I think in a certain way that has woken people up and has made them look at womens soccer differently. I think the individual player distinctions weve received, like Formiga, Cristiane -- I dont name myself among them. Everything as a whole has led to something positive and has helped womens soccer as a whole to improve.To reach the gold-medal game that will be played Friday in the same stadium, Brazil must get past the Swedish team that ended the gold-medal reign of the United States in a quarterfinal shootout. Brazil met that task once when it crushed Sweden 5-1 in group play. But that was also the last time Brazil scored in this tournament. A scoreless draw against South Africa to close group play was followed by the stalemate against Australia.Sweden played an open game in the first meeting and was punished by a team that was faster, more athletic and just as skilled. It played a defensive game against the United States and was rewarded for it. Coach Pia Sundhage left little doubt Monday that the mistakes of the past would inform her plans for the present. Brazil will have to solve Swedens numbers massed in defense and do so with limited rest after the marathon in Belo Horizonte. Brazil may also have to do so without the attacking skill of Cristiane, whose status remains in doubt after an injury against Australia.For all of that, Martas first appearance in the Maracana in nearly a decade is both sociology and soccer, that idea again captured both by the enormous crowds that watched the women in Manaus and Belo Horizonte, and by a recent photo of a young fan with a Neymar jersey?-- the name of the Brazilian mens star crossed out and replaced by that of Marta.Asked about the cultural importance of the game, Brazilian coach Vad?o mentioned, via a translator, the difficulty girls still have playing the game in organized settings. Brazil is not hostile to womens soccer in the way it once was, but a culture, any culture, changes slowly.At one point Monday afternoon, a member of the local staff at the Maracana walked over to inform media members that the Swedish coach would be 20 minutes late. In doing so, the staffer more than once used the pronoun he in reference to Sundhage. It could easily have been a slip of grammar, but it was no less likely a slip of tongue reflective of the culture.As is the case of Vad?o or the coach of the Colombian team, the other South American representative in the womens tournament, women play but men still coach. (Costa Rican coach Amelia Valverde is one of the rare exceptions in Latin America at the international level.)So it was that Sundhage reflected on her own journey to the Maracana, two years after she led the United States to the gold medal game in Wembley Stadium. It was a remarkable set of circumstances considering the soccer world when she was a girl.Its funny, when I was a girl I dreamt to be a professional player, Sundhage said. There werent such thing as girls football, even. Then I dreamt to be a professional coach. And there werent anything like a professional coach.That is how generations of girls in Brazil must have felt, must still feel. Vad?o talked Monday about the Maracana being more than a stadium; it is part of the Brazilian culture. And yet girls have so rarely seen women playing on its field.When the conditions are equal, Vad?o said, the results can be equal.Given enough time, perhaps that change is inevitable. But Brazils escape in Belo Horizonte gives it an opportunity to bring about change that much sooner. Air Max 270 React Just Do It . "I dont know that were close," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "I just think, right now, the acquisition cost just doesnt work for us right now. I dont know if I can quantify how far off or things like that that they might be but I would say we continue to have dialogue. Air Max 270 React Noir . Deulofeu injured a muscle in his right leg in Evertons 4-1 win over Fulham in the English Premier League on Saturday. 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