Lloyd hat-trick inspires U.S. World Cup victory
By Simon Evans
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Carli Lloyd led from the front as the United States won the Women's World Cup for a third time with a crushing 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday, the striker scoring the tournament's fastest ever hat-trick, including a spectacular long-range goal.
The American captain struck three times inside 16 minutes as the U.S. stormed into an unexpected and unsurmountable 4-0 lead over their shell-shocked opponents.
Japan, winners four years ago, were utterly stunned as their opponent's deadly finishing ensured the U.S. added to their 1991 and 1999 titles and became the first nation to win the Cup three times.
The game, played in front of 53,341 spectators at a packed BC Place, was the highest-scoring Women's World Cup final ever and, for non-Japanese at least, was an entertaining finale to what has been an excellent tournament.
"Honestly I'm so proud of this team, it's unreal, it hasn't really sunk in, I'm just so unbelievably proud of every woman on this team," an emotional Lloyd said in a pitchside interview.
"I was on a mission to help this team, I just worked my butt off. Collectively, so brilliant, so brilliant, so proud."
No team had ever scored more than two goals in a Women's World Cup final but the brilliant Lloyd went one better all by herself -- and within just 16 minutes.
The opener came in 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. Continued...