WASHINGTON (CBSDC/CBSNews) – The U.S. women’s soccer team is bringing home a World Cup trophy for the first time since 1999.
The 5-2 victory over Japan was handily led by midfielder Carli Lloyd who came up with three early goals to take a commanding lead within the first 20 minutes, ultimately leading to a third World Cup title.
The U.S. and Japan would finish the full 90 minutes of the game, and the U.S. would win by a final 5-2 margin, securing its first World Cup title in 16 years and its third overall – the most in women’s soccer history. But by the 16th minute, the game was already over, CBSSports.com reported.
Lloyd scored a hat trick as the U.S. burst to a four-goal lead in the first 16 minutes, and the Americans overwhelmed defending champion Japan for their record third championship and first since 1999.
A sellout crowd that included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden roared in approval for Lloyd’s hat trick, the first ever in a Women’s World Cup final.
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When it was over, Lloyd collapsed to her knees and pumped her fists. Forward Abby Wambach bear-hugged teary-eyed coach Jill Ellis, lifting her off the ground.
Lloyd, voted the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, scored twice in a span of about 135 seconds as the U.S. led 2-0 by the fifth minute.
Lauren Holiday scored in the 14th and two minutes later Lloyd made it 4-0 with an audacious 54-yard, right-footed shot from midfield that sailed over goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Japan closed on Yuki Ogimi’s goal in the 27th and an own goal by Julie Johnston in the 52nd. Tobin Heath scored two minutes later for the Americans, who had struggled in the World Cup since winning the inaugural tournament in 1991 and then again at the Rose Bowl eight years later.
Christie Rampone, the only holdover from the 1999 team, lifted the trophy with Abby Wambach, the 35-year-old former FIFA Player of the Year who lost her starting job with age. Wambach was among the most vocal opponents of FIFA’s decision to play the tournament on artificial turf.
With FIFA President Sepp Blatter staying away during a U.S. criminal investigation of soccer officials, the trophy was presented by FIFA Senior Vice President Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, the head of African soccer’s governing body.
Hope Solo won the Golden Glove as top goalkeeper of the tournament. She played despite critics who urged the U.S. Soccer Federation to drop her after she initially faced two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence from a June 2014 altercation at her half-sister’s house, charges that were dismissed on procedural grounds.
Japan returned eight starters from the 2011 final, when it beat the U.S. on penalty kicks. The Americans, turning their roster over more, started just four of the 11 players who opened that game in Germany.
Lloyd, a 32-year-old midfielder, had come up big before, scoring the winning goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals.
She put the U.S. ahead in the third minute off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe, then made it 2-0 when she poked the ball between two defenders and past the Kaihori’s outstretched arms.
Those were the two fastest goals in World Cup history.
Lloyd’s third goal came when Kaihori came far off her line. The keeper backpedaled and got a hand on it, but it bounced into the goal.
LLoyd scored the first hat trick in a Women’s World Cup final and the fastest in World Cup history. The only other hat trick in a World Cup final was when England’s Geoff Hurst scored three times against Germany in the men’s 1966 final at Wembley.
Lloyd is the first American since Michelle Akers in 1991 to score multiple goals in a World Cup final. Lloyd scored six goals in seven matches during the monthlong tournament, raising her international total to 69.
Holiday added her goal in the 16th minute, volleying a header by a Japanese defender.
Ogimi’s goal in the 27th minute was the first Solo had allowed after five straight shutouts. The only other goal scored against her came in the first half of the tournament opener against Australia.
The United States went 540 minutes without conceding a goal, the longest streak in the World Cup since Germany went 679 scoreless minutes from 2003-11.
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