Germany's national women's soccer team made history on Sunday, Sept 30 by becoming the first women's team to win the World Cup for the second time in a row as they beat Brazil 2-0 in the final in Shanghai.
Germany's Birgit Prinz exults with Sandra Smisek, left, and Kerstin Garefrekes
Germany's women's soccer team powered their way to a thrilling 2-0 victory over Brazil with Birgit Prinz's goal in the 52nd minute and Simone Laudehr's header in the 86th bringing the team its second consecutive Women's World Cup title.
Germany's watertight defence didn't concede a single goal in the tournament, the first time ever that a soccer side has managed the feat. 31,000 fans in Shanghai's Hongkou Football Stadium watched the fast-paced FIFA Women's World Cup final.
Brazilian star striker Marta, the top scorer in the tournament, failed to get in a penalty kick past goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, a goal which would have tied the game in the second half.
Brazil's Marta grimaces after she failed to score a penalty kick
"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 nimble-footed Brazilians were the better side in the first half, playing a fast aggressive game and piling up the pressure on the German defense.
Marta, who won the best player of the tournament award, had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute with a long range drive stopped easily by Angerer.
Seconds later, the physically stronger Germans went on the attack when Kerstin Garefrekes was set free on the right only to slice her shot into the side netting.
In the eight minute, Germany's powerful defense seemed to falter for an instant when goalkeeper Angerer failed to gather a free kick by Brazil's Daniela. The ball bounced out to Formiga but she was unable to put the ball in the net.
Daniela had another chance in the 23rd minute but was unlucky when she shot a left foot volley onto the post.
Heroic saves by German goalie
The Germans finally picked up pace in the second half, determinedly pushing forward. But it was only in the 52nd minute that they managed the breakthrough when Captain Birgit Prinz was fed a pass by Sandra Smisek. The veteran forward coolly slotted in the crossed ball on the turn.
Brazil's defender Aline, German forward Sandra Smisek and German midfielder Melanie Behringer fight for the ball
But it was Angerer who was the hero of the day when she stopped the spot kick by Martha with her knees and then again when she held a flying strike by substitute Rosana.
Despite dominating ball possession, Brazil's spirited attack failed to break through the solid German defense and they failed to find an equalizer.
A stunning header by Simone Laudehr in the dying minutes of the game clinched the game for the ruthlessly efficient German side.
"Germany deserved to win"
"This was a very tough match, we missed a lot of chances especially when we were 1-0 down and Marta missed a critical penalty," said Brazil coach Jorge Barcellos.
"But Germany took their chances and scored. I'm very sad about this result but my players tried their best."
The 21-year-old Marta said she was crushed after the defeat but that the team had to look ahead.
"It's difficult to express my feelings. The Germans deserved to win," she said. "But we have to keep our chin up and prepare for the Olympics in Beijing."
In the third-place play-off, two-time champions the United States beat Norway 4-1.