A stable defence and an unpredictable attack were the pillars of Germany's success as they marched to their second FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup title with a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in the final. Two players who epitomised the Germans' style were striker Alexandra Popp and midfielder Kim Kulig.
As well as collecting the adidas Golden Shoe award for finishing the tournament's top scorer with ten goals, Popp's versatile displays in attack also earned her the adidas Golden Ball award, reserved for the competition's best player, while Kulig picked up bronze in the same category. Shortly after the trophy celebrations, the two rising stars took a few moments to talk exclusively to FIFA.comin the catacombs of the Bielefeld World Cup stadium.
Kim Kulig, how do you feel after such a momentous victory?We're so happy! It was our dream to reach the final and now we've actually won the title. It makes us so proud to have lifted the trophy in front of a sold-out crowd here in Germany. It's definitely been the best night of my life.
Alexandra Popp, is it also the highlight of your career so far?
I'm 19 years old, I'm a world champion and I've also picked up two personal awards. I just don't know what to say. It was our dream to win the tournament on home turf, and we really played well in the last few games in front of this wonderful crowd. We've fulfilled our dream. It's amazing and it's been great fun playing at this tournament. I certainly didn't count on getting both the Golden Shoe and the Golden Ball.
Kim, you're one of the more experienced members of the team having already played for the senior national side. How was it for you to play for the U-20s again?It was a great experience. I've known a lot of these players from U-15 and U-17 level. It's great fun playing with them all. We're just a great group of players and I think people saw that here. That's why we won it.
Alexandra, what do you feel was the main reason for the team's success?We just kept on growing as a team as the tournament progressed. I still remember turning up for breakfast on the first day, when we took it upon ourselves to win it. Now we're here and we've done it. Everyone fought for one another and we worked hard together to iron out our flaws. We kept it tight at the back and combined well up front, and that's why we scored more goals than any other team.
Kim, what does this triumph mean to you looking ahead to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany next year?We'll have to see what happens over the next year. We can celebrate for the time being, but the Bundesliga starts soon. You have to perform at club level, work hard on your game, improve and then just hope to be in the squad for the World Cup next year.
Alexandra, the team always celebrated goals by pretending to swim on the touchline. You yourself always celebrated with outstretched arms. What's behind all of that?[laughs] It's nothing to do with swimming! In our free time we often played a singing game on the computer. We looked at some of the choreography on it and picked a few out to present to the rest of the team, including those on the bench as they're just as important. My personal celebration is the 'scorpion'. I actually got it from [Germany men's international] Marcell Jansen. I think he's a really good player and, like me, he often makes runs down the left. That's why I copied his goal celebration.
Alexandra, you have often turned out both in defence and midfield. After all these goals at Germany 2010, surely you're going to stick to being a striker...You'll have to ask my club coach. No, seriously, I'll play wherever I'm told to play.
LOC President Steffi Jones comes round the corner to congratulate Popp on her success: "You were sensational!"
Kim, tell us what happened in the changing room after the match?A party! [laughs] And it will continue long into tonight, too. We're heading back to the hotel now and then we'll see what they've organised for us.