Birgit Prinz became the all-time leading scorer in FIFA Women's World Cup finals history as her goal set Germany on the way to victory against Japan and first place in Group A.
Having beaten Argentina 11-0 and drawn 0-0 with England, holders Germany still needed a point to make absolutely sure of a quarter-final berth in China but they were always on top tonight. Petra Wimbersky forced Miho Fukumoto into an early save but the deadlock was broken on 21 minutes, when Renate Lingor's corner found Prinz at the far post and the captain produced an unstoppable shot to take her all-time World Cup finals tally to 13, one more than United States player Michelle Akers.
Sandra Smisek hit the crossbar as she attempted to join Prinz on a tournament-leading four strikes later in the first half, and the next goal did not arrive until the 87th minute when Lingor put away a penalty after Martina Müller was tripped. That secured top spot, with England's 6-1 win against Argentina taking them through in second, ahead of Japan. Germany will face the Group B runners-up in Wuhan on Saturday, a game that could be a rematch of the 2003 final provided Sweden produce a three-goal victory on Tuesday against North Korea. Simone Laudehr will return for the weekend match from suspension.
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