Carli Lloyd inspired USA to a 5-2 victory over holders Japan in the Women’s World Cup finals with the mid-fielder netting a 13 minute first half hat-trick, the third of which being a wonder goal from the half way line. Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath also got their names on the scoresheet for USA, while Yuki Ogimi pulled one back for Japan just before the half hour mark and Julie Johnston of the US scored a self goal as she headed the ball into her own net.
USA and Japan had met in the finals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, which Japan won on penalties, after a 2-2 draw following extra time. Carli Lloyd was one of the three USA players to have missed from the spot then, however, she put the ghosts of last editions final to rest in some style at the BC Place stadium in Vancouver.
Carli Lloyd punishes Japan again
This was not the only time, when Carli Lloyd had punished Japan following the 2011 finals loss, as she scored twice against Japan in the 2012 Olympics finals which USA won 2-1.
Lloyd opened the scoring in only the 3rd minute with an unstoppable drive from the outside of her foot, after a brilliant low corner was played into the box, which the Japanese failed to clear. Two minutes later, another set-piece helped Lloyd double her score, after some terrible defending by the opposition defenders inside the box, gave Julie Johnston the opportunity to knock the ball down for Lloyd to finish.
Japan had their work-cut out in the 14th minute, after a tame headed clearance by Iwashimizu was brilliantly volleyed in by the 27-year-old Kansan City forward Lauren Holiday.
But, Holiday’s brilliant volley was soon overshadowed by a goal of supreme quality by the in-form Carli Lloyd, who noticed that goalkeeper, Ayumi Kaihori was off her line and took advantage of it by hitting a shot from behind the halfway line. The surprised goalkeeper, Kaihori could only flail at the ball and manager to parry it but could not prevent the goal. The brilliant goal was the icing on the cake for Carli Lloyd and helped her to complete her hat-trick in only 13 minutes en route to becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in the finals of the Women’s World Cup. The majority of the 53,341 fans present inside the BC Place stadium erupted in joy after her sublime goal.
Japan got a goal back in the 28th minute, when Yuki Ogimi took advantage of some poor defending inside the box, as she beat her marker and curled the ball into the top corner. Japan pulled another one back 7 minutes into the second half, when a tame header by Julie Johnston bounced away from a helpless Hope Solo and trickled in.
USA however, regained their 3 goal lead only minutes later, as Toby Heath completed the rout in the 54th minute neatly bundling home after some poor defending by the Nadeshiko. Hope Solo had little to do in the USA goal, with only 4 shots on target registered by the Japanese team.
USA became the first team to win three women’s World Cup, having last won the Cup in 1999. Carli Lloyd was awarded the Golden Ball for scoring six goals in the tournament, tied with Germany’s Celia Sacic, but all of the 32-year-old’s goals came in the knockout stages. Hope Solo was handed the Golden Glove award following some stellar goalkeeping displays throughout the tournament.