Germany have qualified for the quarter-finals of Canada 2014 as Group B winners after coming from behind to beat Brazil 5-1. A Sara Daebritz hat-trick and a Pauline Bremer brace wiped out the advantage established by Carol's first-half opener and left the Germans to look forward to a last-eight meeting with the Group A runners-up.
The Brazilians knew they needed to beat the two-time champions by two or more goals if they were to advance, and despite the scale of this challenge, the South Americans set about it with gusto. Dorival Bueno's side enjoyed easily the best of the opening stages, although when chances started to arrive, it was the Germans who initially created the better of them.
The impressive Lena Petermann created the first, dinking a delicate through ball into the path of the quick and powerful Pauline Bremer. But while the Germany No9 showed good strength to hold off her marker as she raced in on goal, her shooting - not for the last time - was wayward and the ball slipped wide of the far post.
Bremer nearly proved more adept as a creator though, breaking through in the right channel 12 minutes later and teeing up Thereas Panfil with a clever cut-back. Panfil's first-time shot had plenty of power and accuracy, too, but it met its match in a brilliant one-handed save by Leticia, who dived low to her right to keep the scoreline blank.
Those let-offs seemed to spark Brazil into renewed action and as the half wore on Gabi went close on two occasions, shooting narrowly wide from good positions in which she might have been expected to hit the target. The South Americans continued to impress though and with 41 minutes played their fine played earned its reward.
There was, admittedly, a large slice of good fortune involved, with Manjou Wilde's attempt at clearing Camila's floated cross bouncing off the head of Carol and looping beyond the helpless Merle Frohms and in off the post. The nature of the goal left the crowd wondering whether this might not be Germany's day, and those suspicions looked to be strengthened in first-half injury time.
That was when Bremer won her team a penalty after being barged over by Camila only to miss from the spot, sending her side-foot effort against the base of the right-hand post. That left Brazil to start the second half needing just one more goal to qualify at their opponents' expense, although they would have known that these particular opponents tend not to go quietly.
Sure enough, within a few minutes of the restart, Germany drew level. Sara Daebritz was the scorer, stealing in unnoticed on to a Panfil cross from the right, controlling with her chest and poking a shot beyond the advancing Leticia. That seemed to settle any nerves the Germans might have been feeling and, just 14 minutes later, they moved in front.
This goal was a testament to the mental strength of Bremer, who having endured something of a nightmare first half, atoned in style for her misses. Picking the ball up in midfield, she burst towards goal, evading Julia with pace and a deft change of direction before skilfully rounding Leticia and shooting home from an acute angle with her weaker foot.
There was never any doubt about the outcome from that moment, and there was even time for Diabritz to take her tally to five for the tournament. Her second of the game was remarkably similar to Bremer's goal, with the midfielder racing through the centre of Brazil's defence, side-stepping the keeper and firing into the net beyond the helpless covering defenders.
And there was still time for both her and Bremer to add further goals in injury time, with Diabritz poking a left-foot shot high into the net before her colleague again rounded Letecia to complete the victory.