The United States Women's National Team, behind Carli Lloyd's hat trick, beat Japan, 5-2, in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final in Vancouver on July 5.
The United States beat Japan, 5-2, in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final on July 5.
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The Americans pulled away on Carli Lloyd's hat trick to dethrone the Japanese and win their third FIFA Women's World Cup title. With the victory, the United States won its first title since 1999, per FIFA.com.
Lloyd recorded her amazing hat trick in the match's first 13 minutes to put the United States ahead to stay.
Megan Rapinoe's low corner kick caught Japan's defense off guard. It found its way to Lloyd near the penalty box area where she kicked the ball past Japan's goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori, per FIFA.com.
Less than three minutes later, a low free kick from Lauren Holiday made its way to Lloyd, who scored her second goal from close range. The United States had a 2-0 lead with barely five minutes into the match.
Those two goals by Lloyd are the fastest in FIFA Women's World Cup Final history, per FIFA's official website.
While the United States' offense was clicking, Japan's defense sputtered early on.
Japanese defender Azusa Iwashimizu was unable to keep Tobin Heath's kick in check. Heath sent the ball to Holiday, who scored to make it 3-0 in favor of the Americans with 14 minutes just gone by on the game clock, per FIFA.com.
Two minutes later, Lloyd struck yet again.
Lloyd was handling the ball into Japan's half of the field and then kicked it from the halfway line. Kaihori tried to get a hand on the ball, unfortunately tipping it into her own goal as she was back-peddling, per FIFA's official website.
With that, Lloyd recorded her memorable hat trick in just 16 minutes of play.
FIFA's official website notes Lloyd almost scored a record-breaking fourth goal minutes later. However, her header just went wide. Had it gone in, her four goals would have been the most by any individual -- male or female -- in FIFA World Cup Final history.
The Japanese were able to finally end their scoreless drought midway through the first half when forward Yuki Ogimi spun past Julie Johnston and sent the ball past U.S.A. goalkeeper Hope Solo to make it 4-1 in favor of the Americans, per FIFA.com.
Japan almost closed the gap to two goals three minutes later but Solo thwarted midfielder Aya Miyama's attempt.
The Nadeshiko finally got their elusive second goal on the 50th minute as Miyama's free kick was too much for Solo to contain, per FIFA.com.
However, the United States snuffed out whatever last-gasp rally Japan had in it when Morgan Brian assisted on a Tobin Heath goal to put the game out of reach.
As the final whistle blew, the pro-United States crowd of 53,341 at BC Place in Vancouver arose in jubilation, per FIFA.com.
Lloyd told espnW.com's Graham Hays it was a moment she will forever cherish:
"I've dedicated my whole life to this. And everything (else) comes second. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
"That's why it's so demanding mentally. I feel more mentally zapped right now than physically. That's what it takes.
"We just wrote history today and brought this World Cup trophy home, which is unbelievable. But at the end of the day, I think I've pushed on my status a little bit and I have to stay up here.
"So it's not right away, but I'll be back to work and back stronger than ever."
For her part, Solo, the tournament's Golden Glove award winner, dubbed it the greatest moment of her career. When FIFA.com interviewed her, she cited the United States' loss to Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup four years earlier.
"It's much sweeter this time around!" Hope proclaimed. "It feels so good. It was incredible. This is surely the peak of my career."
On the other hand, Ogimi conceded Japan didn't have what it took to keep up with the United States, per a separate FIFA.com update:
"We didn't have the quality to handle what USA threw at us in the Final. We have to admit that we didn't have it today. In that sense, USA were better than us.
"USA used a lot of moves on set plays and we didn't handle that well at the start of the match and we were soon two goals down. We conceded a third and fourth very quickly.
"But we soon found our rhythm and we pulled back two goals, but in the end we didn't have enough ability to come all the way back into the match."
The next FIFA Women's World Cup tournament will take place in France in 2019.
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