Women's World Cup: USA rout Japan to win title
Carli Lloyd became the first woman to score a hattrick in a World Cup final as she inspired the United States to a 5-2 demolition of defending champions Japan on Sunday (Monday morning Singapore time).
The opener came in just 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 when two minutes later 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 it home.
Japan barely had 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 Holiday on the edge of the box, who blasted in a volley.
Japan had conceded as many goals in the opening 14 minutes as they had in the entire previous six games of the tournament.
Two minutes later, Lloyd sealed her hat-trick with one of the most remarkable goals ever witnessed in a Women’s World Cup.
Japan restored a little bit of confidence in the 27th minute when Yuki Ogimi evaded her marker Julie Johnston in the area and fired past Hope Solo to make it 4-1.
The Japanese have been widely praised for their short-passing game but it was an old-fashioned route that brought them, temporarily, back into the game early in the second half.
Aya Miyama’s long free-kick into the box was aimed at Homare Sawa and Johnston rose for the ball but could only deflect a header past a helpless Solo.
The glimmer of hope flickered for just two minutes, however, when a US corner fell to Morgan Brian, who did well to find Tobin Heath, who confidently fired home to make it 5-2, effectively ending Japan’s hope of a comeback.
Lloyd's hat-trick brought her goal tally in the tournament to six goals and helped win her the Golden Ball trophy awarded to the top players of the tournament.
With the victory, the Americans avenged their loss to Japan in the 2011 final and earned a record third Women’ s World Cup title and their first since 1999. - Wires