Germany wins Women's World Cup
It was a classic battle pitting Brazil's awesome attack against Germany's stingy defence.
Birgit Prinz scored the winning goal in the 52nd minute and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer recorded her sixth consecutive shutout of the competition, as Germany earned a thrilling 2-0 victory over Brazil in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup Sunday in Shanghai.
Simone Laudehr also scored with four minutes left in regulation for Germany, which becomes the first country in the history of the Women's World Cup to repeat as champion.
With her team down 1-0, Brazil's Marta, the reigning FIFA world player of the year, missed a penalty shot in the 64th minute, squandering a glorious chance to level the game and opening the door for Germany to win the game.
"After the penalty save, I felt it was meant to be," Germany coach Silvia Neid said.
"We worked hard for each other, it was a great team performance. It was important to work against Marta, and we did a good job in pushing her to the sidelines."
The Germans finished the competition without conceding a goal thanks in large part to Angerer, who set a new record for most consecutive minutes (619) without giving a goal in World Cup play, dating back to the 2003 tournament in the United States.
Germany outscored the opposition 21-0 and is the first team to go through a major senior soccer competition without yielding a goal.
After the game, Marta was given the Golden Ball award as the tournament MVP. Prinz took the Silver Ball as the runner-up, and Brazil's Cristiane earned the Bronze Ball.
Germany faced its sternest test of the World Cup against Brazil. Marta, who finished as the tournament's top scorer with seven goals, and Cristiane (five goals) asked serious questions of Germany's defence, but couldn't find a way to use their speed and sublime technical skills to score.
Torrid pace, scoring chances
The first half was an entertaining spectacle, played at a torrid speed with both sides creating scoring chances. Marta paced the quick Brazilian attack, while the Germans, led by Prinz, stretched the South American's defence with their concise passing game.
Brazil came achingly close to scoring in the eighth minute when a goalmouth scramble ensued off a free kick ended with Cristiane's back-heel attempt from inside the six-yard box just whispering past the post.
Germany struck back six minutes later, putting together a pretty three-way passing sequence that ended with forward Sandra Smisek firing her shot wide of the net from outside the penalty box.
Brazil stole the momentum back and swarmed the German net. Daniela's booming shot in the 24th minute from 20 yards out slammed against the post.
The German defence soaked up the pressure for the remainder of the half as the South Americans continued to press.
Brazil looked the more likely to score, but it was the Germans who broke the deadlock early in the second half when Smisek fed a pass to an onrushing Prinz who blasted a one-timer under the scrambling Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia.
The goal was Prinz's fifth of this competition. The German striker also ranks as the World Cup's all-time leading scorer with 14 goals.
Brazil stormed back and earned a penalty shot in the 64th minute after Formiga fed a defence-splitting pass to Cristiane, who was brought down from behind inside the penalty area by German midfielder Linda Bresonik.
Marta stepped up to the penalty spot to take the kick, but Angerer dived to her right to make the save and deny the Brazilian.
That changed the course of the game.
The South Americans poured forward in search of a tying goal, but the German defence held firm and Laudehr scored on a header in the 86th minute off a corner kick to seal the victory for the champions.
The U.S. defeated Norway 4-1 in the bronze medal game earlier on Sunday in Shanghai.