SHANGHAI, China — Defending champion Germany sent a strong message with its record-breaking 11-0 victory Monday over Argentina in the women's World Cup.

For the top-ranked United States, it serves as a warning heading into its opener today against North Korea in Group B. The margin of victory was the largest in the women's World Cup, and the goals were the most by a single team.

"It was a nightmare start for our team," Argentine coach Jose Carlos Borrello said.

Veteran forwards Birgit Prinz and Sandra Smisek combined for six goals — three each — as the Germans dominated every part of the Group A match over their smaller opponents.

Prinz, playing in her 165th game for Germany, scored with a thumping header, knocked in a loose ball at the far post, and then slipped a glancing header past Argentine goalkeeper Vanina Correa.

Prinz's 12th overall goal in the World Cup finals equaled American Michelle Akers' record for World Cup goals and surpassed the previous German record of 11 by Bettina Wiegmann.

Smisek, who has played nearly 120 matches for Germany, scored a second-half hat trick.

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"It was easier than expected," Prinz said. "We had a lot of open space and we used that space. We took our chances well."

The previous most lopsided scores in the World Cup were 8-0, when Sweden beat Japan in 1991 and Norway defeated Nigeria in 1995.

With the midfield in complete control, the Germans knocked balls over the Argentine back wall and attacked wide.

"Our offense never stopped going forward, and we played well down the wings," German coach Silvia Neid said.

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