Lloyd hat trick leads US over Japan 5-2 for World Cup title
Updated: 2015-07-06 09:30
VANCOUVER - Carli Lloyd led from the front as the United States won the Women's World Cup for a third time with a crushing 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday, the striker scoring the tournament's fastest ever hat-trick, including a spectacular long-range goal.
The American captain struck three times inside 16 minutes as the US stormed into an unexpected and unsurmountable 4-0 lead over their shell-shocked opponents.
Japan, winners four years ago, were utterly stunned as their opponent's deadly finishing ensured the US added to their 1991 and 1999 titles and became the first nation to win the Cup three times.
The game, played in front of 53,341 spectators at a packed BC Place, was the highest-scoring Women's World Cup final ever and, for non-Japanese at least, was an entertaining finale to what has been an excellent tournament.
"Honestly I'm so proud of this team, it's unreal, it hasn't really sunk in, I'm just so unbelievably proud of every woman on this team," an emotional Lloyd said in a pitchside interview.
"I was on a mission to help this team, I just worked my butt off. Collectively, so brilliant, so brilliant, so proud."
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.
The opener came in the third minute when Megan Rapinoe drove a low diagonal ball across the area and Lloyd timed her run to perfection, meeting the ball with a powerful, first-time drive past Japan keeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Japan were stunned further just two minutes later when Lloyd doubled the lead -- again from a set-piece.
Another low ball into the box did the damage, this time from a Lauren Holiday free-kick which the Japan defence failed to clear and the ball fell to Lloyd, who gleefully slotted home.
Japan had barely time to regroup before they found themselves 3-0 down in the 14th minute with an awful attempted headed clearance from Azusa Iwashimizu falling to Lauren Holiday, who lashed in a volley from inside the penalty area.
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