Germany added the European Championship title to their current mantle of World Champions when they beat Norway 3-1 to win their fourth successive UEFA European Women's Championship in Blackburn on Sunday.
Are you watching Klinsi? Birgit Prinz celebrates Germany's third goal
On a hot summer's day in deepest Lancashire, both teams toiled in temperatures creeping into the lower thirties but it was Germany who took the lead through Anja Mittag who poked in a goal bound Inka Grings shot after a well-worked corner in the 21st minute.
It wasn't long before the Germans were 2-0 up. Just three minutes later, Germany's Britta Carlson took advantage of a break down in the Norwegian attack to put her midfield partner Renate Lingor clear of Norway's exposed defense with a sublimely lobbed pass. Lingor took one touch to lift it over the stranded Norwegian goalkeeper Bente Nordby from 20 yards to double the advantage.
Germany's Anja Mittag scores the first goal against Norway's in the UEFA European Womens Championship final.
The humidity eventually broke into a thunderstorm and this brought the Norwegians to life. Norway, the only European team to win continental, world and Olympic titles, were suddenly a force to be taken seriously.
Spirited Norway stage comeback
The first half was nearing its end when winger Stine Frantzen cut in from the left and split the German defense with a pass which Dagny Mellgren bravely got on the end of. Shrugging off a physical tackle, Mellgren retained composure to poke the ball past the oncoming German goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg.
The Norwegians were revitalized and nearly ended the half with parity. Frantzen found the net moments after Mellgren's goal but her powerful right-foot effort was disallowed for offside.
Germany came out stronger in the second half, with Prinz and Conny Pohlers combining well to trouble the Norwegian defense.
Prinz seals win with killer blow
The FIFA Women's Soccer Player of the Year, Birgit Prinz
But the killer blow didn't come until the 63rd minute when world player of the year and German captain Birgit Prinz unleashed a shot from distance which took a wicked deflection and wrong-footed Nordby to make it 3-1.
The bad luck seemed to extinguish the spirited Norwegian comeback despite having chances to get back in the game. Sixteen-year-old substitute Isabell Herlovsen went close with 20 minutes left when her close-range volley flew straight into Rottenberg's arms and, as time ebbed away, her colleagues seemed to run out of ideas.
A fitting end to a glittering career
In the end, the three goals were enough to hand the Germans their sixth European title since the tournament began in 1984 and to give their coach Tina Theune-Meyer a last trophy to celebrate in her final game as Germany coach.
With the trophy in the bag, the Germans paid an emotional tribute to their coach on the winner's podium, handing her the silver and glass cup and bowing to her in acknowledgement of a career that has brought the biggest prizes in women's soccer to Germany.