WOLFSBURG Germany (AP) – Substitute Karina Maruyama outran the defense in extra time and with an angled shot put Japan into the semifinals of the Women's World Cup and knocked out two-time defending champion Germany 1-0 on Saturday.
In Germany's first loss in the tournament in a dozen years, Japan absorbed relentless pressure during regulation time.
Standout midfielder Homare Sawa still had the alacrity in the 108th minute to spot a deep run from the substitute, serve her perfectly and see Maruyama slip it around goalie Nadine Angerer to stun the 26,067-sellout crowd and an expectant nation.
Germany threw everything forward in the final dozen minutes, but it didn't matter. As throughout the tension-filled match, the ball never fell kindly to the hosts in the goalmouth. Instead, Japan was through to its first World Cup semifinal.
''I am so happy. We all fought together until the end,'' said Maruyama. ''It was not my success but that of the whole team.''
For too long, Germany's fear of elimination had doused the spirit of creativity. In the end, fatigue got the better of everyone as the quarterfinal turned into a survival of the fittest. And in the end it was the ''Japanese game'' that coach Norio Sasaki promised that made the difference - one precision pass and lightness of feet outdid two hours of grinding and pushing by the hosts.
Germany had not lost a World Cup game in a dozen years going back to a quarterfinal defeat against the United States in 1999.
It also meant the likely end of the World Cup career of Birgit Prinz, Germany's best-ever player and the tournament's all-time scoring leader. After two disappointing games, she was benched for the last group game and again in the quarterfinal. She came off to shake hands.
After the game, the Japanese players united behind a Japanese banner saying, ''To our friends around the world - Thank you for your support,'' recognizing the global aid in the wake of the deadly Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March.