VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Carli Lloyd came up big again. Three times.
And with it came the Americans’ elusive third Women’s World Cup title.
Lloyd scored a hat trick as the U.S. burst to a four-goal lead in the first 16 minutes, and the Americans overwhelmed defending champion Japan 5-2 Sunday for their record third championship and first since 1999.
A sellout crowd that included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden roared in approval for Lloyd’s hat trick, the first ever in a Women’s World Cup final.
When it was over, Lloyd collapsed to her knees and pumped her fists. Forward Abby Wambach bear-hugged teary-eyed coach Jill Ellis, lifting her off the ground.
Lloyd, voted 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.
Lauren Holiday scored in the 14th and two minutes later Lloyd made it 4-0 with an audacious 54-yard, right-footed shot from midfield that sailed over goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Japan closed on Yuki Ogimi’s goal in the 27th and an own goal by Julie Johnston in the 52nd. Tobin Heath scored two minutes later for the Americans, who had struggled in the World Cup since winning the inaugural tournament in 1991 and then again at the Rose Bowl eight years later.
2015 – United States 5, Japan 2
2011 – Japan 2, United States 2, Japan won 3-1 on penalty kicks
2007 – Germany 2, Brazil 0
2003 – Germany 2, Sweden 1, OT
1999 – United States 0, China 0, United States won 5-4 on penalty kicks
1995 – Norway 2, Germany 0
1991 – United States 2, Norway 1