Holders Germany devastated by women's World Cup exit

Heartbreak for the hosts and defending champions as an extra-time goal from Karina Maruyama sends Japan through to the semi-finals.

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY // Silvia Neid, the Germany coach, admits the hosts and defending champions were devastated by their quarter-final exit from the women's World Cup after their extra-time defeat to Japan.

The hosts were floored by the winning goal from the Japanese substitute Karina Maruyama, who drilled her shot home in the 108th minute to break German hearts and silence the sell-out 26,067-strong crowd.

Having won both the 2003 and 2007 editions, this is the first time Germany have lost at a women's World Cup since they were beaten 3-2 by hosts the USA in the quarter-finals of the 1999 tournament.

Japan have now got beyond the quarter-finals for the first time as their previous best performance was a last-eight appearance in 1995 in Sweden.

With many of her players in tears at the final whistle, Neid herself was consoled by Theo Zwanziger, the president of the German Football Federation (DFB), who gave her words of comfort.

"He said it was a pity, but these things happen and life goes on," said Neid. "We can be sad for a few days, but there are lots more tournaments waiting for us.

"I don't think we were the worse of the two teams, we didn't score any goals and if you don't pay attention during the entire game, you lose the match.

"We weren't able to score a single goal out of 15 dead ball situations, that is normally our strength."

Japan will now face either Australia or Sweden, who meet on Sunday, in the semi-final in Frankfurt on Wednesday, while Germany's players will make their way home and Neid praised the Japanese, especially veteran captain Homare Sawa.

"They were very disciplined, they are very quick and hold their formation well," said the German coach. "We took too long, we weren't fast enough and we didn't manage to dominate the space.

"What really impressed me was how sure the Japanese were on the ball, they always found players with their passes. Look at Sawa, she is playing her fifth world cup and is still playing very well, she deserves my full respect.

"They were very good going forward, we were able to control them with our defence, we knew we had to be cautious. I can't say they deserved to win, but I wish them lots of luck for the next round."

While Neid refused to make excuses, she admitted the loss of key midfielder Kim Kulig with a knee injury after three minutes hurt her team.

Especially when the players learned Kulig may have suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament injury which means a lengthy lay-off.

"It was a decisive point, it was a shock after three minutes," said Neid. "It might be a rupture of the cruciate ligament, everyone found out and that wasn't a good start for us as she plays long passes and controls the ball well. It didn't help us at all."

Published: July 10, 2011 04:00 AM


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