THE USA have lifted the Women’s World Cup after taking a skillful Japanese squad to pieces, the final score 5-2. Carlie Lloyd, the Americans’ captain and one of the players of the tournament, was on fire in the final in Vancouver, her hat-trick in the first 16 minutes sending the US on the way to almost certain victory.
It wasn’t just Lloyd scoring in the opening minutes of the match – Lauren Holiday also volleyed into the net on 14 minutes. These were the two sides who met in the last Women’s World Cup final, the result then 2-2, with Japan taking the trophy after penalties. But staggering work from Lloyd and her troops made sure from the get-go that wasn’t going to be repeated.
With the USA 4-0 up, Japan clawed one back in the 27th minute, and for a short while it seemed it may not have been all over, particularly when Julie Johnston scored an own goal. Japan had more of the possession throughout the game, but weren’t able to make it count.
There were never any real wobbles from a rampant American team, who raced ahead again two minutes after the own goal, when Tobin Heath made it 5-2.
The free-scoring Americans made it a wonderfully entertaining final, the highest scoring in the history of the women’s tournament and equalling the biggest score from the men’s World Cup final from 1958, when Brazil beat Sweden, the tournament hosts, by the same margin.
Preceding the final, England’s women continued their strong performance into the third place play-off to beat Germany 1-0 in extra time with a penalty. The squad’s delighted manager, Mark Sampson, said afterwards: “This team is incredible, just incredible.”