The United States Women’s Soccer Team won its third World Cup on Sunday after it managed to take one back on Japan in an ecstatic 5-2 win in Vancouver, four years after the same team was responsible for defeating them in a penalty shootout in the 2011 final.
The US team was carried by a thunderous start from skipper Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals in the first 16 minutes of the game to effectively put the match out of contention before it even properly started.
Her recital started in just the third minute, when she fired a shot after a free kick which went into the net and marked the fastest goal ever scored in a Women’s World Cup Final. She continued in the fifth minute, when she found her way into the path a magnificent Julie Johnston back heel pass and shot the ball past the keeper once again to make it 2-0.
Lauren Holiday made the best of Japanese defender Azusa Iwashimizu’s error to deal with a Tobin Heath cross in 14th minute, partially giving the US fans rights to celebrate. That was completed with an outstanding piece of magic by Lloyd just two minutes later, who fired a shot from the halfway line over the desperately backpedalling Ayumi Kaihori and into the back of the net.
Despite being 4-0 down and outplayed in most aspects of the game, the Japanese team didn’t relent and seemed at one point back on the path towards an incredible comeback. Yuki Ogimi scored in the 27th minute, and Japan appeared more dangerous after coach Norio Sasaki went all-out-offense. A free-kick by Japanese captain Aya Miyama was awkwardly hit by Julie Johnston and ended into the back of her own net in the 52nd minute, cutting the deficit to just two goals.
But the US were not content to give the Japanese any such ideas when Heath scored five minutes later, re-establishing the 3 goal lead and effectively settling the identity of the World Cup winners. The late match was marked by the occasional goal attempts and the subbing in of Amy Wambach, the highest international scorer of all time regardless of gender, who enjoyed about 10 minutes of her first World Cup triumph.
The United States became the first team to win the World Cup three times, with this being the first triumph since they hosted the 1999 tournament. Lloyd finished as the tournament joint top scorer alongside Germany’s Celia Sasic and received the Golden Ball as its best player. Hope Solo also won the Golden Glove, designating the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Image Source: FIFA