Update, 9:03 p.m.: After going on one of the greatest 16-minute stretches in American sports history by scoring four quick goals to start the Women’s World Cup final against Japan, the United States wrapped up a comfortable 5-2 victory to claim its third World Cup title in four visits to the final. The Americans also avenged their defeat against the Japanese in the last World Cup final. While they didn’t match Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany from last year’s World Cup semifinals, it was one of the most dominant World Cup final performances—men’s or women’s—in history, matching Brazil’s 5-2 win over Sweden in the 1958 men’s tournament. It was the first American title since the United States beat China on penalties in the 1999 final on home turf.
Original post: Well, that was pretty fun. The United States had the greatest start to a World Cup final in history on Sunday, scoring four goals in 16 minutes. Three of those goals belonged to star midfielder Carli Lloyd, who capped off the hat trick—the fastest in Women’s World Cup history—with an insane chip from midfield to beat Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Lloyd’s salivating opening goal came in the third minute with a gorgeous put away of a perfect low cross by Megan Rapinoe, while her second goal came just two minutes later off of another set piece. Lauren Holiday scored the United States’ third goal just two minutes before Lloyd would add the fourth on the midfield chip, and Holiday’s flying volley was just as scintillating as Lloyd’s first two. You can watch all four beautiful strikes below.
The Japanese pulled one back on a very solid effort by Yuki Ogimi in the 27th minute to end the United States’ scoreless streak at 539 minutes, just shy of a Women’s World Cup record.* The Americans did let the Japanese battle back from one-goal leads twice in the last Women’s World Cup final in 2011 and ultimately lost that contest on penalty kicks, but four goals (or three goals for that matter) is a whole other kettle of fish, especially coming against a team that had conceded just once the entire tournament prior to the final. After that start, a repeat of last year’s 7-1 German humiliation of Brazil seemed more likely than any sort of completed Japanese comeback.
Correction, July 6, 12:19 a.m. This post originally misstated the U.S. scoreless defensive streak at the World Cup was 540 minutes.