The United States has become the first country to win three Women's World Cup titles.
They claimed their latest with a 5-2 win today over Japan. Carli Lloyd needed only 16 minutes to record the hat trick that gave the USA an early 4-0 lead.
Lloyd gave the United States a 1-0 lead in the third minute, running onto a low cross from Meagan Rapinoe and finishing from close range.
She made it 2-0 two minutes later – the quickest two goals in Women’s World Cup history – and that already seemed like that might be enough to return the Cup south of the border. Japan hadn’t scored more than two goals in any match of this World Cup, and in the USA they were facing a team that entered the game with a 513-minute shutout streak.
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However, within another 10 minutes or so, the USA would double that lead. The third goal came from Lauren Holiday in the 15th minute.
Then Lloyd completed her hat trick in the 16th, with the most memorable of them all. Technically precise Japan lost possession around the halfway circle. Lloyd touched it into space, saw goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori well off her line, and launched a 50-yard shot on goal. Kaihori back desperately and managed to get a hopeful hand to it, but the ball continued on and into the net.
Lloyd was named player of the match and receives Golden Ball as player of the tournament. Hope Solo wins tournament's Golden Glove as outstanding goalkeeper.
I'll be back with notes and quotes.
79' Another nice hand as Abby Wambach comes on for Tobin Heath. Lloyd hands Wambach the captain's armband.
60' Megan Rapinoe comes off to enthusiastic cheers. Very. Kelley O'Hara comes in.
54' GOAL USA. USA gets it back. WIth clean finish from Tobin Heath in front of goal. USA 5-2.
52' GOAL Japan. Own goal Julie Johnston. Solo gets a late hand to it, but it continues in. USA 4, Japan 2.
Second half: ... has begun.
Half: USA 4, Japan 1. Crowd chants "USA" through a minute of stoppage time.
28' GOAL Japan. USA shutout streak end. Ogimi takes ball in front of goal, shields with body, turns fires. USA 4, Japan 1.
16' Lloyd completes her hat trick in the 16th minute with a lob from the halfway circle. USA 4-0.
15' GOAL USA. Lauren Holiday this time. USA 3-0.
5' GOAL again, and Lloyd again. USA 2, Japan 0. Lloyd becomes the fasted
3' GOAL. USA 1, Japan 0. As Carli Lloyd finishes low corner kick from Rapino.
First kick: ... has been struck. USA in white, Japan in blue.
Lineups: For USA, the same lineup that defeated Germany in the semifinal: Solo; Krieger, Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Klingenberg; Heath, Brian, Holiday, Lloyd, Rapinoe; Morgan. Solo and Rapinoe also play for the Seattle Reign, and today is Rapinoe's birthday.
For Japan: Kaihori, Iwashimizu, Kumagai, Sameshima, Sakaguchi, Miyama (C), Kawasumi, Ohno, Utsugi, Ogimi, Ariyoshi
Pregame: It is a hot and sunny afternoon in Vancouver, Canada, where the United States and defending champion Japan will meet for the 2015 Women's World Cup.
First kick is scheduled for 4 p.m. We will keep the blog open before, during and after the match, with additional updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt. The game will be shown live on Fox.