Carli Lloyd scored an incredible 13-minute hat-trick as the United States thrashed Japan to win their third Women’s World Cup title.
In a repeat of the 2011 final, which Japan won on penalties, the Nadeshiko could not live with their stronger and quicker opponents, who went 4-0 up when Lloyd scored an astonishing third from the halfway line.
The American midfielder put the 1991 and 1999 champions two goals up within five minutes in a stunning start to the match.
Lauren Holiday volleyed in after Azusa Iwashimizu’s woeful header and Lloyd then caused pandemonium among the huge contingent of US supporters inside BC Place when she lobbed Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.
The 2011 winners retaliated thanks to a Yuki Ogimi strike and a Julie Johnston own goal, but Tobin Heath made it 5-2 before 60 minutes had elapsed and despite further pressure, English coach Jill Ellis’s USA side held on.
The majority of the 53,341 fans inside BC Place erupted in joyous celebration at the final whistle before Confederation of African football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou, standing in at the final for Fifa president Sepp Blatter, presented the World Cup trophy to former captain Christie Rampone and veteran striker Abby Wambach.
Chants of “U-S-A” reverberated around the ground when they lifted trophy.
The pulsating finale to an entertaining tournament was the highest-scoring final in the tournament’s history, and matched the highest scoring men’s final, when Brazil defeated Sweden by the same scoreline in 1958.
Japan, who made it to the final after beating England courtesy of Laura Bassett’s own goal, were outclassed from the start and could not cope with the USA’s set-pieces.
But they also suffered from a familiar foe as Lloyd added to the two goals she scored against Japan in the 2012 Olympic final between the two teams.
Her third-minute opener was the quickest goal in a Women’s World Cup final as she latched onto Megan Rapinoe’s perfectly directed corner. The 32-year-old added another after Japan failed to clear a free-kick.
It got worse for Norio Sasaki’s side when Iwashimizu gifted Holiday a goal when her clearance header merely looped up in the air and the USA midfielder took advantage.
Lloyd’s wonder goal, which completed a first Women’s World Cup final hat-trick and made her the tournament’s joint top scorer along with Germany’s Celia Sasic, appeared to have ended the game as a contest.
Such was the manner of Iwashimizu’s display that the Japan defender she was withdrawn after 33 minutes to be replaced by former captain Homare Sawa, who was competing in her sixth World Cup.
Although former Chelsea forward Ogimi turned and fired in before the break and Johnston’s second-half own goal gave Japan hope, Heath took advantage from more poor Japanese defending to score the USA’s fifth.
Japan were determined not to give up as substitute Mana Iwabuchi caused problems for the US defence. But they could find no way past a resolute US side, who became the first team to win the Women’s World Cup for a third time.
Credit: BBC Sports