Women's World Cup - Huge shock as hosts beaten
After the match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, Japan shocked the home nation when Karina Maruyama finished from a tight angle to knock out the tournament favourites and reach the semi-finals for the first time in their history.
Germany were dealt an early blow when they lost Kim Kulig to injury. The midfielder sustained the blow when heading just wide in the early stages.
Silvia Neid, who again left the great Birgit Prinz on the bench after a lacklustre tournament for the prolific striker, saw Germany threaten again after 23 minutes when Melanie Behringer delivered a wicked inswinging free-kick from the left wing.
Kerstin Garefrekes was the intended target but was hurried and sought to make contact with her thigh from six yards out and failed to test Ayumi Kaihori in the Japan goal.
Germany nearly undid their good work on the half-hour mark when a defensive slip from Saskia Bartusiak gifted Yuki Nagasato possession in the box. However, the forward dragged her effort across the face of goal.
Another poor touch from Garefrekes prevented Germany taking the lead when she looked ready to slot the ball past Kaihori, but in truth it was a poor contest in Wolfsburg.
Germany's most likely avenue always looked to be the expert set-pieces of Behringer, and the midfielder wreaked havoc at the start of the second half when a deep delivery to the back post forced Yukari Kinga into clearing off the line following Simone Laudehr's header back across goal.
Just before the hour mark Behringer's delivery again posed problems for Japan but they managed to scramble the ball clear just as it appeared to be destined to sneak inside the far post.
Neither side possessed anything like the requisite killer touch in the final third and Germany were reduced to ambitious shouts for a penalty when Inka Grings was knocked to ground by Saki Kumagai. However, there was not enough contact to warrant an award.
Both sides enjoyed chances in extra-time but it was Japan who took an unexpected lead when Sawa dinked a lovely ball over the top for Maruyama, who finished from a tight angle thanks to some poor goalkeeping from Angerer.
Desperation set in for Germany and they laid siege to their opponents' goal, but the onlooking Prinz watched her and her country's hopes of a third consecutive World Cup disappear as Japan secured the shock win.