SHANGHAI, China – Germany won its second straight Women's World Cup on Sunday, defeating Brazil 2-0 behind second-half goals by Birgit Prinz and Simone Laudehr.
Prinz scored in the 52nd minute and Laudehr added a cushion in the 86th, helping Germany become the first women's soccer team to successfully defend its title in the World Cup or Olympics.
Marta, the Brazilian star with seven goals in the tournament, had a chance to tie the score in the second half, but her penalty kick was stopped by diving German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.
"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."
Germany went through six games in the tournament without yielding a goal and outscored the opposition 21-0, setting other records in the process.
The Germans thwarted the flowing attacks of Brazil, which routed the United States 4-0 in the semifinal. In the third-place game Sunday, the U.S. defeated Norway 4-1 behind two goals by Abby Wambach.
Germany, bidding to host the 2011 Women's World Cup, was the first team to go through a major senior competition without yielding a goal. It has not given up a goal in 619 minutes in World Cup play. The last goal came four years ago in the finals against Sweden. China held the previous record of 442 minutes.
Germany's defense had to be good. Brazil dominated possession without getting past Angerer and central defenders Ariane Hingst and Annike Krahn.
Germany's best chance of the first half came in the fifth minute when Kerstin Garefrekes found space on the right, but her sharply angled shot hit the side of the net. Brazil came close soon after when Formiga shot wide of the right post after a goalmouth scramble.
The game settled into a pattern with Brazil dominating in midfield through the efforts of the hard-tackling duo Formiga and Ester. Germany ceded too much possession to Brazil and had its iron-clad defense to thank for stopping Brazil's forwards.
The game came alive in the 24th minute when Daniela's rasping shot thumped into the left post. When the rebound crossed back into the penalty area, she headed the ball over the bar.
Germany assumed a more attacking formation for the second half, and the strategy was rewarded in the 52nd minute.
Sandra Smisek took possession in the box and centered to an unmarked Prinz. She did not hit her shot cleanly, but Brazil goalkeeper Andreia failed to get down quickly enough. The shot passed under her and into the net.
Brazil was awarded a penalty kick in the 62nd minute after Cristiane fell under a challenge from Linda Bresonik. Marta took the kick but Angerer guessed correctly by diving to her right, blocking the low shot with her legs.
Brazil continued to attack, and five minutes later Angerer rescued her team again, diving to save a free kick by substitute Rosana.
But for all its domination, Brazil could not solve the German defense, and Laudehr sealed the victory when she headed home Renate Lingor's corner kick in the closing minutes.