SHANGHAI - Birgit Prinz's goal in the 52nd minute and Simone Laudehr's strike in the 86th lifted Germany to a 2-0 victory over Brazil on Sunday, bringing the team its second consecutive women's World Cup title.
Germany's Birgit Prinz (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Brazil during the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup final at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai. Germany beat Brazil 2-0 to become the first nation to successfully defend the women's World Cup title. [Agencies]
Brazil star Marta, who has seven goals in the tournament to lead all scorers, had a chance to tie the game in the second half, but her penalty was stopped by Germany keeper Nadine Angerer diving to her right.
"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."
In the third-place game, the No. 1-ranked United States defeated Norway 4-1.
Germany went through six games in the tournament without yielding a goal and outscored the opposition 21-0, setting other records in the process.
Germany's defense had to be good. Brazil dominated possession without finding its way past Angerer and central defenders Ariane Hingst and Annike Krahn.
Germany, which is bidding to host the 2011 women's World Cup, broke several records. It's the first soccer team to go through a major senior competition without yielding a goal.
The Europeans have not given up a goal in 619 minutes in the women's World Cup. The last goal was scored four years ago in the finals against Sweden. China held the old record of 442 minutes.
Germany is also the first women's soccer team to successfully defend its title in the World Cup or Olympics.
Germany's best chance of the first half came in the fifth minute when Kerstin Garefrekes found space on the right, but her sharp-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 match 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 match came alive in the 24th minute when Daniela's rasping shot thumped into the left post, and when the rebound was crossed back into the area, the same player headed over the bar.
Germany took on a more attacking formation for the start of the second half, pushing wide players forward, and it was rewarded with the lead 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, and the shot passed under her and into the net.
Brazil was awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute after Cristiane fell under a challenge from Linda Bresonik. Tournament top scorer Marta took the spotkick but Angerer guessed correctly in diving to her right, blocking the low shot with her legs.
Brazil continued to attack the German goal, and five minutes later Angerer rescued her team again, diving to save a freekick by substitute Rosana.
But for all its domination of general play, Brazil could find no way past the German defense, and Laudehr sealed victory when she headed home a Renate Lingor corner in the 86th minute.