Germany made a statement on Wednesday, defeating Japan 3-0 in the Algarve Cup final to firmly plant their stake as 2015 World Cup favorites.
After a scoreless first half, the European champions needed less than a minute to score in the second half and put the game beyond doubt within 17 minutes. Nadine Keßler opened the scoring right after halftime and Anja Mittag scored a crafty backheel goal four minutes later to put Germany in control.
Dzsenifer Marozsan scored a sublime goal from 20 yards out with her right foot to ice the game for Germany, making it 3-0. The goal was her fourth of the tournament.
Disappointment from the 2011 World Cup is well behind the Germans, who are ranked second in the world behind the United States. Germany bowed out to Japan in the quarterfinals on home soil in 2011 and missed the 2012 Olympics as a result, they won the EURO 2013 title and just dominated world No. 3 Japan. With 15 months until the 2015 World Cup, Germany looks like the team to beat, especially with the struggles the U.S. endured over the past week.
The U.S. defeated North Korea 3-0 on Wednesday to take 7th place at the Algarve Cup. Abby Wambach scored twice and Heather O’Reilly added the other goal in her 200th cap.