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Birgit Prinz is no stranger to breaking records, and she reacged new landmark on Wednesday when the Germany captain became the first European of either gender to win a 200th cap in the 3-0 defeat of North Korea.
The 32-year-old 1. FFC Frankfurt striker arrived at her double century in the with North Korea in Duisburg as Germany continue their build-up to the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup on home soil. With 125 international goals, Prinz has been at the centre of Germany's domination of women's football ever since her debut on 27 July 1994, winning the last two FIFA Women's World Cups and five UEFA European Women's Championships, the most recent in September when she scored in her fourth continental final. For good measure she also has three Olympic bronze medals, and has won nine German titles and three UEFA Women's Cups with Frankfurt, as well as a hat-trick of FIFA Women's World Player of the Year awards.
"I think it's a very special thing to have been at the top for so long," Prinz said. "Women's football has developed enormously over the past few years. I'm very proud to have been playing at the top level for so long." Coach Silvia Neid, who was a team-mate of Prinz's when she first broke into the squad, added: "Birgit is a phenomenon. She is hugely ambitious and her own worst critic. It's unbelievable that she's been playing at a world-class level for so long."
UEFA president Michel Platini praised Prinz in a tribute on the German Football Association website, saying: "Women's football in Germany boasts a player who is a genuine legend. Birgit Prinz – world champion in 2003 and 2007, European champion in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009, and Olympic bronze medallist in 2000, 2004 and 2008 – can already look back on an extraordinary career. Awards as Women's World Player of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005 were fully deserved.
"After more than 15 years in international football, the German prodigy is now preparing to write another chapter in her illustrious career, when she wears the German national-team shirt for the 200th time against North Korea. This is an absolute record in German football, and it deserves admiration. I watched her in action in the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009 final in Finland, and I can only confirm her talents as a goalscorer, as well as the splendid technical qualities which are always put at the service of the team. I am therefore particularly pleased today to congratulate Birgit Prinz on her fantastic career, and express the hope that she will continue to serve as an example for future generations for a number of years to come."
In the match itself, Fatmire Bajramaj, Simone Laudehr and Célia Okoyino da Mbabi scored the goals for Germany, who go on to compete in the Algarve Cup from next Wednesday.
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