Germany were crowned world champions on Sunday after beating Sweden with a golde
Germany were crowned world champions on Sunday after beating Sweden with a golden goal in the World Cup Final in Los Angeles.
Germany 2, Sweden 1 aet
The tournament's only unbeaten side maintained their record through substitute Nia Kuenzer's 98th minute winner in front of 26,137 fans at the Home Depot Centre.
It was a nailbiting finale revealing there's more to American soccer fans' affection for the beautiful game than their team.
After the US's third place win over Canada in front of more than 25,000 fans here on Saturday, injured defender Brandi Chastain told me she hoped it would be packed.
"It deserves to be, those are two fine teams and people didn't buy tickets only because they thought they'd see the US," she said. "(It's) because they knew they'd see a competitive game for a championship."
It was never going to equal the 90,000 filled Rose Bowl final of '99, but it was almost a sell-out and the Europeans did not disappoint.
An exciting first half full of attack saw golden shoe and ball winner Birgit Prinz foiled four times.
Hanna Ljungberg did hit the target four minutes from the break though, much to the delight of the fans, clearly taken with Sweden's on-field flair.
Less than a minute into the restart, Maren Meinert equalised and as a gripping match spilled into extra time, a golden goal settled it just as it did for Germany against Sweden in the finals of Euro 2001.
Afterwards, the first female coach to win the trophy, Tina Theune-Meyer, said there would be a "lot of partying" in Germany.
Controversy surrounds the free kick which led to Germany's winner but a disappointed Ljungberg said it had been "one of the best months in my life".
It was not so for the US however, whose 3-1 win over Canada for bronze was a relief following media criticism.
"When there were people that doubted us the US team rose again and I was very proud of the way they performed," coach April Heinrichs said afterwards.
Fourth for Canada was a massive achievement - before this tournament they had not won a World Cup game.
Captain Charmaine Hooper said: "It's a great step for our programme, for women's soccer in Canada and for the confidence of our team."
And it is improvements on the pitch which are being touted as the measure of this World Cup.
Head FIFA media officer for the tournament, Michael Johnson, said the governing body was very happy with the way things have gone.
He added: "Overall, we've seen a much higher level in general play than in '99 in terms of developments in other nations as opposed to the traditional powerhouses in women's football."
Chastain said on Saturday that it was probably the last time American powerhouses Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Joy Fawcett would grace the World Cup stage.
It was the last time too for Germany's Meinert, Bettina Wiegmann and China's Sun Wen.
But there's plenty waiting in the wings.
Canada's Hooper said: "The soccer's been exciting and when you look at the level of play out there, you realise how far women's soccer has come in a very short period of time."