Germany with its many weapons fall silent after Karina Maruyama’s brilliant finish off a pinpoint pass by Homare Sawa. The defending champions were sent packing as Japan showed skill and true grit throughout the match. A well deserved win for the Nadeshiko.
Kim Kulig was an early exit suffering a knee strain as the Germans absorbed her absence to create a number of opportunities. But the Japanese proved to be resilient on defense setting up the scenario for Maruyama’s historic goal in extra time. It was almost as if the Germans had walked themselves into a rope a dope knockout.
This was not the sendoff Birgit Prinz envisioned. For a generation of fans coming of age Prinz was the byword in women’s football. As iconic as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Sun Wen, Sissi, and Hege Riise. She was a non-factor in Sylvia Nied’s scheme of things in this World Cup. A player of her quality deserved better. An adieu and an acknowledgment to one of the best in women’s football is in order.