On top of the world

U.S. routs Ja­pan 5-2 in fi­nal to win Women’s World Cup

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS -

Carli Lloyd put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on her coun­try’s stun­ning four-goal bar­rage in the open­ing 16 min­utes with a hat­trick strike from the half­way line as the United States de­mol­ished Ja­pan 5-2 in the Women’s World Cup fi­nal on Sun­day.

Lau­ren Hol­i­day and Tobin Heath had the other goals for the Amer­i­cans, who claimed their third ti­tle af­ter pre­vi­ously win­ning in 1991 and 1999.

Julie John­ston put a ball in her own net in the sec­ond half, while Yuki Ogimi had the other goal for Ja­pan, which won its only World Cup by beat­ing the U.S. on penal­ties four years ago.

This one wasn’t nearly as close.

In front of a rau­cous proAmer­i­can crowd of 53,341 at B.C. Place Sta­dium that in­cluded U.S. Vice-Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Lloyd opened the scor­ing in the third minute on a nicely worked cor­ner kick, guid­ing home Me­gan Rapi­noe’s low drive af­ter mak­ing a strong run to the penalty spot.

The Amer­i­can cap­tain then made it 2-0 with her fifth of the tour­na­ment just two min­utes later by pok­ing home Hol­i­day’s free kick af­ter it was flicked on by John­ston in a chaotic penalty area.

Hol­i­day went from provider to scorer in the 14th minute, jump­ing on a ter­ri­ble mis­take by de­fender Azusa Iwashimizu to volley it home past help­less Ja­panese goal­keeper Ayumi Kai­hori.

Lloyd then com­pleted her hat trick two min­utes af­ter that on a goal that will be re­played over and over.

She picked up the ball in her own ter­ri­tory and moved to­wards half be­fore un­leash­ing a shot to­wards goal. Kai­hori stum­bled as she tracked back and could only watch as the ball went off her hand, off the post and in.

As the Amer­i­cans on the pitch and in the stands cel­e­brated, Kai­hori lay on her back with her hands cov­er­ing her face.

When play re­sumed, Lloyd could have easily scored a fourth goal on a header mo­ments later that went just wide.

Ja­pan even­tu­ally stead­ied its ship and got one back in the 27th minute when Ogimi col­lected a ball in front of Hope Solo and beat the U.S. ‘keeper with a high shot she could only get a fin­ger to.

The goal was the first the Amer­i­cans had con­ceded since their open­ing game, a span of 540 min­utes.

Ja­pan subbed on vet­eran midfielder Ho­mare Sawa and striker Yuika Su­ga­sawa later in the half, but the Amer­i­cans took a 4-1 lead into the break.

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