A never-say-die United States team defeated Germany 3-2 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw Sunday to win a Women's Hockey World League tournament in Johannesburg.

The Americans were outplayed for much of the title decider on an astro turf pitch at the University of the Witwatersrand and lucky to be trailing by only one goal.

But the nation ranked sixth in the world -- one place above the Germans -- were awarded a penalty stroke with two minutes left and Taylor West equalised.

Teenager Camilla Nobis had put Germany ahead on 38 minutes by deflecting a cross past outstanding American goalkeeper Jackie Briggs.

The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 in the shootout after four attempts each, piling pressure on the next participants, German Franzisca Hauke and American Erin Matson.

Hauke scored only for the "goal" to be disallowed because the hooter sounded to signal that the permitted eight seconds had elapsed up just before the ball crossed the line.

Teenager Matson had a chance to win the tournament and made no mistake, calmly firing past goalkeeper Lisa Schneider, who replaced Julia Ciupka for the shootout.

"We are a really resilient team who work together and I am proud to lead them," said United States skipper Melissa Gonzalez, voted the best player of the tournament.

Briggs was named the best goalkeeper and downplayed her many saves during the match and two in the shootout.

"I did not win the tournament -- my team did," she stressed. "I just did what I could to assist my team-mates."

Jill Witmer was another American prize-winner, receiving the leading scorer award after netting five times.

Giselle Ansley scored twice in the final quarter -- off a penalty corner and a penalty stroke -- to seal a 5-2 win by England over Argentina in the third place play-off.