The United States lifted their third Women’s World Cup after demolishing Japan 5-2 in an entertaining final in Vancouver, with hat-trick heroine Carli Lloyd writing her name into the game’s history.
Four years after contesting the last final, the USA and Japan clashed once again to contest the showpiece even of Canada’s 2015 occasion.
Lloyd, who demonstrated a remarkable ability to run the channels and pressure the opposition defenders, started strongly and enjoyed an unforgettable opening quarter of an hour to the match.
After 16 minutes, the States were 4-0 up, with the indomitable Lloyd scoring an unbelievable hat-trick.
The first two goals came from set pieces, with Japan undermined by both the States’ menacing play from corners and free kicks, although the losing finalists also let themselves down by some underwhelming defending.
Lauren Holiday made it three on 14 minutes, when she sent a terrific volley past Ayumi Kaihori.
USA’s fourth and Lloyd’s third was a stunning effort, firing an unthinkable long-range strike past Japanese keeper Kaihori despite only just being inside the opposition half.
The opening surge of goals deflated the Japanese, but they responded on 28 minutes through Yuki Ogimi, and made it 4-2 when Julie Johnston scored an own goal.
However, the States underlined their dominance with a 53rd-minute goal through Tobin Heath.