German President Horst Köhler presented the German women's soccer team with the Silver Laurel Leaf -- the country's highest honor for sporting achievements -- on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Germany retained the World Cup after beating Brazil in September.
The women's team has another achievement to cheer about: receiving Germany's top sporting award. German President Horst Köhler presented the squad with the Silver Laurel Leaf at Berlin's Bellevue Castle -- among other things, for winning the women's World Cup in September by beating Brazil 2-0 in China to become the first team ever to retain the title.
"You represent everything this award stands for with your outstanding achievement and personalities," Köhler said at the award ceremony, according to AFP news agency.
Germany's coach Silvia Neid was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for her contributions to soccer.
Coach Silvia Neid also received the Distinguished Silver Cross
"This kind of award is incredibly special. It shows that it's worth working so hard to be successful," Neid said.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and German Soccer Association (DFB) President Theo Zwanziger also attended the ceremony, at which Köhler praised the rapid and positive development of the German women's team.
Women outshine men
"The time when women were not allowed to play soccer at all, or only with smaller, lighter balls has past," Köhler said.
"Besides, your success has likely caused the men's national team to turn green with envy a time or two," he added with a smile.
Player Kerstin Garefrekes said about receiving the team award: "It is a very special moment for every player."
Birgit Prinz (c) in action against Argentina during the 2007 World Cup
Midfielder Renate Lingor agreed. "The award makes us all very happy. Germany does a lot for us," she said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to receive the entire team for dinner Wednesday night.
Birgit Prinz, one of the players to score in the 2-0 victory against Brazil, and goalie Nadine Angerer, were absent at the ceremony. Prinz, who is studying to become a physio-therapist, had an exam to take; Angerer was apparently ill.
Germany is scheduled to host the next women's World Cup in 2011.