Tuesday, July 9, 2013

9 July 2011 - Taking Hospitality A Little Too Far

On 9 July 2011, Japan eliminated 2-time defending champions and hosts Germany from the World Cup with an extra-time quarterfinal goal. They then went on the lift the cup.

The teams had met three times in previous World Cups and Germany won each one. The last two were in the group stages of the 2003 and 2007 tournaments, both of which ended with Germany as champions. As hosts of the 2011 edition, they were heavy favorites to win it a third straight time.

They breezed through the group stage with a perfect record to set up their quarterfinal meeting with Japan in Wolfsburg. It was only the second time Japan had advanced out of the first round and was as far as they had ever progressed.

The Germans controlled the early part of the match, but could not get the ball in the net despite outshooting Japan 23 to 9 on the day. Japan, meanwhile, settled in under the leadership of midfielder and captain Homare Sawa, who helped them limit Germany's chances by keeping the majority of possession.

Scoreless through 107 minutes of extra time, the day's only goal came in the 108th, as substitute forward Karina Maruyama drove the ball just inside the far post, handing Germany their first defeat in sixteen World Cup games.

Afterward, Japan beat Sweden in the semifinals, then won the final over the United States in a penalty shootout.

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