Hosts and defending champions Germany are out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup after a 1-0 extra-time defeat to Japan in the quarter-finals.Following a goalless 90 minutes at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena, Karina Maruyama struck in the 108th minute to send Japan through to the last four.
World Cup winners in 2007 and 2003, Germany enjoyed numerous chances to take the lead in Saturday’s match.
The first fell to midfielder Kim Kulig, who sent a header wide with four minutes played.
She was injured in the process and forced out of the match, in perhaps the first sign that the favourites would not have everything their own way.
Striker Yuki Nagasato spurned Japan’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes, shooting wide after a neat passing exchange.
Kerstin Garefrekes was culpable of two bad misses for the hosts, as the Frankfurt forward failed to convert a forward Melanie Behringer free-kick before later losing control of the ball when through on goal.
Germany began to dictate terms in the second half, but were still unable to force the breakthrough.
Inka Grings was supplied by Garefrekes but headed over, winger Behringer went close on several occasions from set pieces and Simone Laudehr saw a header cleared off the line.
With their own goal under siege, Japan were restricted to just two clear-cut opportunities. Aya Miyama fired over just after the hour mark and striker Kozue Ando failed to convert a cross from close range.
Germany should have won it through Babett Peter late on, but the Turbine Potsdam defender became the latest player to miss when her header failed to find its mark.
And Japan punished that profligacy in extra-time, when forward Maruyama received a measured pass from Homare Sawa before dispatching a clinical finish across goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and into the Germany goal.
In the other quarter-final on Saturday, France defeated England 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Leverkusen.
England led from the 59th minute through Jill Scott’s strike, but France levelled with just two minutes remaining courtesy of a dynamic Elise Bussaglia goal from outside the area.
Neither side could find a winner in extra-time, forcing a shootout.
Camille Abily and Claire Rafferty both missed for France and England respectively, but it was the latter’s captain Faye White who had the misfortune of hitting the bar with the last kick of the shootout, sending France through.