After going head-to-head with Sweden at the end of regulation play, Germany drove home a "golden goal" five minutes into overtime to snatch a 2-1 victory and its first ever world cup in women’s soccer.
Germany's super girls bring home the World Cup title.
It was high noon on the soccer field as Europe’s two top women’s soccer teams battled it out for the world cup. After advancing through the three weeks of final rounds in the United States and gaining the respect of many a male counterpart with their skillful play, Germany and Sweden were prepared for what was being dubbed the battle of the lady giants.
The match started out high in spirits as both teams bounded onto the pitch full of confidence, with the noon day sun shining down on them. Some 26,000 spectators had turned out for the showdown, many waving the national flags and cheering on their hometown girls.
And none of the fans of women’s soccer were disappointed. Throughout the 93 minutes of regulation play, the two teams kept up the suspense, blocking and stealing passes, rushing goals and shutting down each other’s offense.
Between the 25th and the 36th minute the anticipation mounted as German striker Birgit Prinz pounded the Swedish goalie with rushes, all which only narrowly missed their destination. The Scandinavians responded by turning up their offense, led by Victoria Svensson.
High noon in California
It wasn’t until the 41st minute that Hanna Ljungberg drove the ball into Germany’s net and brought in the first point of the game. For a few minutes it looked like the Swedes had snatched up the cup and many were suddenly reminded of the German men’s almost-chances at last year’s world cup in Japan.
But not to be trumped so easily, Maren Meinert countered quickly with a goal in the 46th minute. The two teams were then tied throughout the rest of the game.
It was down to overtime play. With a maximal extension of two 15-minute plays, the fate of the 2003 title hung in the air.
Just five minutes after the regular game whistle blew, Nia Künzer scored a surprise "golden goal" to bring home the elusive title and do what the men had failed to do.
The "German Super Girls," as the American newspaper USA Today referred to them, had proven they were the best women’s soccer players in the world.
Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder, president of Germany’s soccer association, congratulated the female eleven on their excellent play. "I am incredibly happy. It’s a proud day for German soccer."