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Soccer: Germany Wins Women's World Cup - 2003-10-13


Germany has won the Women's World Cup football (soccer) tournament with a 2-1 extra time victory over Sweden.

The smaller, Swedish women opened the first half with several fast breaks, steals and agile ball handling, as they spun around and banged into the larger German players. Sweden pressed the goal several times, while the Germans were content to play a conservative first half.

Hanna Ljungberg sped toward the net in the 41st minute, beating a defender and the goalkeeper to score. Germany's attack opened quickly in the second half, with a strike by Maren Meinert in the 46th minute.

The game went into extra time. Nia Kuenzer came off the German bench to put a beautiful header from a free kick just under the crossbar seven minutes and 28 seconds in the extra period. Her 'golden goal' gave Germany the World Cup title. German coach Tina Theune-Meyer says it was typical of the games her team played throughout the tournament.

"We had another very good second half, like it was always in this tournament," she said. "And we scored, and then we thought we could win this game. Before, we were very equal [with Sweden], and sometimes lucky."

Swedish coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors says she did not agree with the call that gave the Germans the free kick.

"I am very sad because of the girls. They have been fighting so much to reach the gold medals," she said. "And then the final result is on a free kick that is not [supposed to be] a free kick."

Along with the World Cup title, Germany has also risen to Number One in the women's football world rankings.

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