The United States won the Women’s World Cup for the third time, crushing Japan 5-2 on Sunday with striker Carli Lloyd scoring the tournament’s fastest ever hat-trick, including a spectacular goal from the half-way line.
The American captain struck three times inside 16 minutes as the U.S. stormed into an unexpected and unsurmountable 4-0 lead over their shell-shocked opponents.
Japan, winners four years ago, were utterly stunned as the U.S’s deadly finishing ensured they added to their 1991 and 1999 titles, and became the first nation to win the Cup three times…
No team had ever scored more than two goals in a Women’s World Cup final but the brilliant Lloyd went one better all by herself — and within just 16 minutes…
And got her the Golden Ball for the tournament.
Japan restored a little bit of pride in the 27th minute when Yuki Ogimi turned Julie Johnston in the area and fired past Hope Solo to make it 4-1.
The Japanese have been widely praised for their short-passing game but it was an old-fashioned route that brought them, temporarily, back into the game early in the second half.
Aya Miyami’s long free-kick into the box was aimed at Sawa and Johnston rose for the ball but could only deflect a header past a helpless Solo.
The glimmer of hope flickered for just two minutes, however, when a U.S. corner fell to Morgan Brian beyond the far post and she did well to find Tobin Heath, who confidently fired home to make it 5-2 and effectively end Japan’s hope of a comeback.
Bravo! The US Women’s team proved their worth, demonstrated that a nation that still hasn’t grown to full participation in the world’s most popular sport can grow through school programs and amateur leagues to play at the best professional level.