Analysis: USA score five to win 2015 Women’s World Cup


Carli Lloyd scored from the half-way line as the United States thrashed Japan to win their third Women’s World Cup title.

In a repeat of the 2011 final, which Japan won on penalties, the United States began the game much quicker than their opponents, they constantly closed Japan down when they were on the ball.

Barely 15 minutes had passed when Lloyd put the USA 4-0 up, completing the first ever World Cup final hat-trick with a scintillating goal from the halfway line. The United States were doing to Japan what Germany did to Brazil at last year’s men’s World Cup.

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The Americans took the lead with the first attack of the game, Megan Rapinoe drilling in a low corner towards the penalty spot where Lloyd, having timed her run perfectly across Azusa Iwashimizu, diverted the ball home to score for the fourth game in succession.

This tactic worked again two minutes later as Holiday sent in a low free-kick which bobbled off defenders on the six-yard line for Lloyd to poke in. Japan hadn’t learnt from their mistakes.

Japan’s defending went from bad to worse on 14 minutes, Iwashimizu, responsible for marking Lloyd at both set-pieces, misjudged a clearance horribly and headed the ball directly into Holiday’s path, who finished with a fine volley.

But then, just over a minutes later, the stadium erupted. Carli Lloyd noticed Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori was off her line, she let fly from 60 yards as the keeper back-pedalled, stumbled and could only touch the ball onto the inside of the post before it landed in the net.

Unbelievably, it almost got even better for Lloyd moments later as she headed Meghan Klingenberg’s cross just wide. The United States looked like they were going to score every time they went forward.

The 2011 winners did pull a goal back thanks to a good turn by Yuki Ogimi, who turned Johnston superbly and finished inside the far post. Japan pushed for a second goal but Aya Miyama could not beat Hope Solo from the edge of the box.

Japan scored again seven minutes after the interval when Aya Miyama’s free-kick from a deep position glanced off the head of Johnston, wrong-footing keeper Hope Solo for an unfortunate own goal.

USA went on the attack again as another Rapinoe corner was not dealt with and Brian set up Heath to finish from six yards.  The United States knew this game was already won, and there was even time for farewell World Cup appearances for veteran US stars Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone before American celebrations rang around BC Place at the final whistle.

Carli Lloyd was named as player of the tournament ahead of France’s Amandine Henry, with Miyama third on a shortlist of eight which featured England’s Lucy Bronze.

Hope Solo took the Golden Gloves as best goalkeeper, Lloyd collected the golden ball as joint top scorer with Celia Sasic of Germany while Canada defender Kadeisha Buchanan was the young player of the tournament.

In FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s absence the global governing body was represented at the presentation ceremony by Cameroonian delegate Issa Hayatou.

The United States formed a guard of honour for their opponents to collect their medals before squad captain Rampone, after her 308th and last international appearance, wore the armband to lift the trophy alongside Wambach.

Chants of “U-S-A” reverberated around the ground when they lifted trophy. With all the support for the United States, it very much felt like a home game for them. The pulsating finale to an entertaining tournament was the highest-scoring final in the tournament’s history, and matched the highest scoring men’s final, when Brazil defeated Sweden by the same scoreline in 1958.

Jill Ellis’ side have now avenged their defeat in the 2011 final between these sides, to the delight of the majority of the 53,341 crowd in Vancouver. The United States became the first team to win the Women’s World Cup for a third time.