Carli Lloyd! From 54 yards away!…Goal! (West Lamy’s broadcasting voice). Lloyd scored three times as the U.S. women’s soccer team jumped to a four-goal lead in the first 16 minutes, and overwhelmed defending champion Japan 5-2 for the team’s first World Cup championship since 1999. Lloyd’s third goal will arguably go down as maybe the greatest individual goal moreover individual performance in USA soccer history. I am getting chills just typing about it.
It was a rematch of the 2011 Women’s World Cup Final, however Lloyd’s hat trick in the 3rd, 5th and 16th minutes had Japan wishing they could push the restart button. “I’m so proud of this group, so thankful for the coaching staff,” Lloyd stated. Lloyd, awarded the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, scored twice in a span of about 135 seconds as the U.S. led 2-0 by the fifth minute. The United States is the first country to win three Women’s World Cup titles (1991, 1999, 2015).
Lloyd had come up big before, scoring the winning goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals. Her third score of the match was out of a movie scene. Japan’s goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori ventured far off her line. The keeper backpedaled and got her right hand on the long shot, but the ball glanced off a post into the goal. Lloyd stated she tried the kick in training before and decided to just kick it. It was the fastest hat trick in World Cup history — men or women — and Lloyd became the first American since Michelle Akers in 1991 to score multiple goals in a World Cup final. The only other hat trick in a World Cup final happened when England’s Geoff Hurst scored three times against Germany in the men’s 1966 final at Wembley.
Yes, it is a team sport representing a global game, but how can Lloyd be overlooked in future Women’s World Cups? “Miss Lloyd she always does this to us. In London she scored two goals and today she scored three goals. We are embarrassed,” Japan coach Norio Sasaki said. “But she is an excellent player and I really respect her and admire her.” Lloyd scored six goals in seven matches during the month-long tournament, including in every U.S. game in the knockout phase. She raised her international goals total to 69 and joined Carin Jennings in 1991 as the only Americans to win the Golden Ball.
“Speechless. Honestly, I’m so proud of this team,” an emotional Lloyd said. “This doesn’t feel real. It hasn’t sunk in. So unbelievably proud of every single person on this team. We just made history.” Do we still believe that we will win or we will just know it in the future? The U.S. scored the most goals ever in a Women’s World Cup final. That’s not the history here, the history is the title, which adds a coveted third star to the American uniform and will inspire an entire next generation. Don’t be fooled by young women on soccer fields across the country practicing goal kicks from 50 plus yards away.