Germany 2 Brazil 0
Germany made a successful defence of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday after they defeated Brazil in a pulsating final at the Hongkou Football Stadium in Shanghai.
Play flowed from end to end throughout, but in the end goals from Birgit Prinz and Simone Laudehr ensured Germany a second successive world title.
Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer played a crucial role in the victory as she saved a second-half penalty from Marta before denying a free-kick with a superb save.
She also ensured that Germany completed an impressive feat by going through the whole tournament without conceding a single goal.
Even before kick-off the game promised to be an interesting encounter with Brazil, who had scored 17 goals in the five matches prior to the final, up against a miserly German defence.
The game got off to a lively start as Germany’s Kerstin Garefrekes sent a powerful drive into the side netting in the fourth minute.
And there was a nervous moment just three minutes later for the Europeans when Daniela’s teasing free-kick was palmed back into the dangerzone by Angerer but Brazil were unable to finish.
The action continued to swing from end-to-end as Sandra Smisek somehow managed to curl her effort wide with only the goalkeeper to beat in the 13th minute.
Ten minutes later Brazil were unfortunate not to take the lead when a rasping shot from Daniela struck the bottom of the post before the Saad midfielder headed over the bar.
Cristiane’s cross sailed just over the head of the lively Daniela in the 34th minute as Brazil’s pacey attack threatened to catch out the Germany defence as the half wore on.
The high tempo of the first half showed no signs of abating in the second period when Germany’s Melanie Behringer fired over from inside the box.
But the defending champions got the breakthrough they had been looking for in the 52nd minute when Smisek raced into the edge of the area, turned sharply before sending a fine pass to the unmarked Prinz who stroked the ball home.
Unsurprisingly the goal sparked a spell of pressure from the Brazilians as they searched for an immediate response.
Marta’s trickery and pace was a constant thorn in the German backline as time and again she tried to conjure an equaliser.
Then came a crucial point in the game when the Umea forward was denied from the penalty spot by Angerer.
Just after the hour mark Cristiane was brought down in the box and Marta stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Angerer guessed right as she dived to deflect her shot to safety.
Angerer was again the hero moments later when she superbly palmed away a stinging free-kick from Brazil.
Germany themselves were still creating chances and Linda Bresonik sent a shot sailing over the bar with 15 minutes remaining.
And they made sure there was no chance of Brazil forcing extra-time when a corner in the 86th minute was headed on towards Laudehr, who sent a bullet header into the back of the net.