Sports


U-S-A proves itself worthy as Women's World Cup champions

 

Carli Lloyd took the drama out of the World Cup final on Sunday at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Thank goodness.

As the United States hooped and hollered, its women's soccer team was taking no chances. Japan wasn't going to come back this time.

Lloyd, the latest American hero, recorded a hat trick and helped the U.S. women's national soccer team leave no doubt which was the superior team as the Americans beat Japan, 5-2, in the championship match before 53,341 fans.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet," Lloyd said. "I'm so mentally fried. It was an unbelievable team performance. We all held together and stayed the course. What Jill (Ellis) and the coaching staff did won us the World Cup."

Team USA showed it was on a mission from the opening whistle.

Lloyd, named the Cup's Most Outstanding Player, scored twice in the first five minutes and then later added one of the greatest goals on any stage for a hat trick less than 16 minutes into the contest, leaving the Japanese stunned and bewildered.

"I've dreamed of scoring on a shot like that," Lloyd said. "When you're feeling good, you're feeling crazy."

The image of Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihora lying on her back in front of the net, her hands covering her face, moments after Lloyd's third goal tells the whole story. It's the heartbreak of knowing, on this day, your best wasn't good enough.

Japan managed to end the Americans scoreless streak at 540 minutes, just shy of a Women's World Cup record, but that takes a backseat to the greatest start to a World Cup final in history.

It's fitting that Lloyd, who scored in each of the last four matches, and had six in the tournament, becomes the face of such a triumph. The woman who turns 33 later this month recorded the fastest hat trick in Women's World Cup history.

"We just wrote history today," Lloyd said. "To bring this World Cup home, it's unbelievable."

It never was about revenge for the 2011 World Cup loss to Japan. It may have been about redemption but more importantly, it became about healing and bringing a nation together, as in "One Team. One Nation. 23 stories."

Lloyd showed determination from the outset, netting a pair of goals before anyone could get settled in. Lloyd's first goal came in the third minute. She finished a perfect low cross from Megan Rapinoe.

She scored again two minutes later and then let Lauren Holiday add to the lead before connecting on a goal from 54 yards away that, apparently, has already become the iconic moment of the championship match.

Tobin Heath, least she become an afterthought, added the final American goal moments after Japan scored courtesy of an own goal from Julie Johnston to make it 4-2. Yuki Ogimi gave Japan its first goal, scoring in the 27th minute.

Stanford grads Kelley O'Hara and Christen Press got to be part of the celebration. O'Hara played the final 30 minutes and was on the field when the match ended.

Press did not play in the final two matches but did score a goal in the Americans 3-1 in over Australia. O'Hara scored against Germany.

"We knew we needed all 23 players," Lloyd said. "I am super proud of each and every one of them. We stayed together. We stayed true to ourselves and we knew we could this."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

This has been an amazing run at the World Cup! WTG, USA!


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2015 at 6:38 am

These women really are World Champions because they have beaten teams from all over the World.

The World Cup really means the World Cup, not like the World Series which only means North America!

Congratulations to the ladies.


Like this comment
Posted by James R.
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2015 at 2:16 pm

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