• Monday Jul 06, 2015

    U.S. wins third FIFA Women’s World Cup title

    The USA (pictured) celebrates after winning the FIFA Women's World Cup title  on July 5, 2015, in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

    VANCOUVER -- Midfielder Carli Lloyd became the first player to record a hat-trick in a FIFA Women's World Cup (FWWC) final, leading the United States to a 5-2 triumph over Japan in front of 53,341 fans at BC Place on Sunday.

    The current CONCACAF champion became the first team to win three FWWC titles, also lifting the trophy in 1991 and 1999.

    Lloyd, named the Gold Ball winner, struck for her three goals during a 13-minute span in the opening 16 minutes as the Americans grabbed a remarkable 4-0 advantage.

    The match was just about over before it really got going with Lloyd netting twice in the opening five minutes. She converted Megan Rapinoe's corner kick from eight yards in the third minute for the fastest goal in final history and then beat goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori from point-blank range on a play started by Lauren Holiday's free kick.

    Holiday interrupted Lloyd's showcase performance with her first goal of the tournament, taking advantage of an Azusa Iwashimzu blunder in the 14th minute. The sequence began with Tobin Heath sending a cross from the right that Iwashimizu tried to head out of danger from inside the box. Instead, she directed the ball up in the air and towards her own goal. Holiday was there to volley it in emphatically with her right foot from eight-yards out.

    Two minutes later, Lloyd completed her hat-trick in spectacular fashion. Noticing that Kaihori was standing too far out of the net, she audaciously launches a shot from just past the midfield line that the goalkeeper got her right hand on while falling backwards. The ball bounced once and hit off the left post before crossing the line.

    Lloyd also tallied two goals against the Japanese in the USA's 2-1 win in the 2012 Olympic gold-medal match.

    Japan tried to make it interesting as Yuki Ogimi scored from the top of the box in the 27th minute, breaking the Americans' shutout streak at 540 minutes.

    U.S. center-back Julie Johnston accidentally headed a long ball into her own net past Hope Solo for an own goal seven minutes after the break. Midfielder Tobin Heath restored the three-goal margin with a close-range attempt two minutes later.

    A 10-city victory tour has been planned for the Americans, who will host Costa Rica in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 16 and in Chattanooga, Tennessee on August 19. There are no details on the remaining eight matches.

    NOTES:

    • Lloyd became the first U.S. player to score in four straight FWWC games, also finding the back of the net against China, Colombia and Germany
    • The U.S. improved to 34W-5D-4L in FWWC play, outscoring opponents 112-35
    • The USA’s five goals were the most any team has scored in a FWWC final; no other team has scored more than two
    • Lloyd also won the Golden Ball in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
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