As her Brazilian teammates waved to their fans at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in postgame exultation, all Maicon could do was lie in exhaustion on the sideline, where she was treated by the team medical staff.

Maicon's goal in the 94th minute against Germany had just tied the score at 3 as time expired, guaranteeing her country a first-place finish in its Women's World Cup group and etching her name in the brief history of Brazilian women's soccer.

The scene was a lot for her to absorb.

"I wasn't feeling well," she said of her absence from the celebration. "I was a little dizzy."

Until yesterday, Maicon -- whose real name is Andreia dos Santos -- had played a mostly supporting role for Brazil. She entered as a second-half substitute in Brazil's previous matches against Mexico and Italy, attempting a shot in each game but not scoring.

Maicon entered yesterday's match in the 65th minute as a substitute for defender Suzana. She made the most of her on-field time in a game in which the 3-3 tie proved as thrilling a result as victory.

"You feel a moment that hits you with a shock, when you feel, `Now is the time,' " Maicon said, speaking breathlessly in her native Portuguese.

Her moment came on the match's final play. Desperate for one more chance, Brazil was awarded a free kick after German midfielder Tina Wunderlich roughly pushed Maicon out of bounds.

Sissi took the decisive free kick. Earlier in the game, she scored Brazil's second goal and her sixth of the World Cup on a first-half free kick that looped over the German wall and past the goalie.

After the game, Sissi said that she was not looking for anyone in particular on the final play.

"I just thought of putting the ball in the middle where the forwards were -- it was our last chance to score," Sissi said.

The ball glanced off the head of defender Elane -- who is Brazil's tallest player at 5 feet 10 -- and struck a German player. It then landed at Maicon's feet.

"I thought, `It's a goal -- either we classify in first or in second place,' " Maicon said.

Maicon's left-footed goal absolved Brazil of its sluggish second-half effort, which allowed two quick German goals -- one on a penalty kick and the other on a shot that glanced off Elane's instep and slipped past goalkeeper Maravilha.

For the Brazilian goalkeeper, who stopped a penalty kick in a brilliant performance against Italy, her teammate's last-second heroics assuaged the pain of those bad breaks in the second half.

"Before the ball entered the area, I was praying to God to give us one more chance, and I think we owe everything to him," Maravilha said.

Coach Wilson Oliveira Rica said that his team was pleased to have won its group, thereby avoiding a confrontation with the United States in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"It's written in the stars that we will meet the United States," he said of the possible semifinal match. "I believe that Brazil-United States could be -- independent of the result -- the best match of the Cup."