It took Brazilian striker Pretinha two minutes to score the first of her three goals in a 7-1 thrashing of Mexico last Saturday in the opening round of the Women's World Cup. When she isn't flashing her braces-filled smile, Pretinha (pret-CHEEN-ya) is usually talking, in Portuguese, as she was with SI before that match.
SI: Pretinha. Cool name.
Pretinha: I used to be called Pel�, but when I was 15, there was another girl on my team nicknamed Pel�, so I got Pretinha. It means "little black girl."
SI: That wouldn't fly here.
Pretinha: In Brazil it's no problem.
SI: Are you a big star in Rio?
Pretinha: When I walk the streets, everyone says, "There goes Pretinha." After the 1996 Olympics [in which she scored four goals] there was always a big mob asking me for autographs and pictures. I loved it!
SI: How much are you pulling down on your club team, Vasco da Gama?
Pretinha: I make 6,000 reals [about $3,400] a month. It's enough to buy a condo and a car. I have a nice one: a 1995 Chevy Corsa sedan.
SI: Your jersey has four stars on the chest, one for each of Brazil's men's World Cup titles. If you win the Women's World Cup, shouldn't the men have to wear a star for the women's team?