USWNT Crushes Japan to Win Third Women’s World Cup
Vancouver, BC– The U. S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) beat Japan 5-2 in a dominating performance that crowned them World Champions for the first time since 1999.
The scoring came quickly and furiously. In only the 3rd minute of the game, Carli Lloyd buried a Megan Rapinoe corner kick with her foot to open up the floodgates for the USWNT. The overwhelmingly pro-American crowd of 53,341 went crazy.
Then, in the 5th min before most fans had even processed her first goal, Lloyd scored again. Tobin Heath was taken down outside the box and Lauren Holiday took the free kick. Julie Johnston flicked it on and Lloyd was there to slam it home off the bounce.
A mere nine minutes later, Holiday joined Lloyd on the scoresheet and put the ball in the back of the net with the outside of her foot on a half volley. The ball never touched the ground after an awkward header left the ball suspended mid air in front of her.
So just to recap, that is 3 goals in 14 minutes. But Lloyd and the USWNT weren’t done.
In the 16th minute, the midfielder looked up from the 50 yard line and saw Japan’s goalkeeper, Ayumi Kaihori, off her line. Lloyd launched a soaring ball that Kaihori was able to backpedal to reach, but only enough to deflect it into the post whereupon the ball promptly bounced in.
Japan got one goal back before the end of the half in the 27th minute. Yuki Ogimi out-maneuvered Johnston for a ball in front of goal and took on Hope Solo 1v1 with success. The goal came only 45 seconds before the USWNT’s backline would have set a new record for minutes without a goal scored. Yet, the scoreless streak of 540 minutes was good enough to tie them with Germany for the longest shutout streak.
With the scoreline remaining 4-1 Japan made two of its three allowed substitutions. Legend Homare Sawa came on to replace Azusa Iwashimizu in the 33rd minute. Six minutes later, Yuika Sugasara replaced Nahomi Kawakami.
The second half saw the USWNT score twice. The first goal was for Japan on an own goal by Johnston in the 52nd minute when an attempted header clearance went awry off a Japanese set piece. The other score came from Heath who was waiting at the top of the box after fellow midfielder Morgan Brian cut the ball back to center in the midst of a scramble off a corner kick.
Abby Wambach came in for Heath and played the last 21 minutes as her final World Cup curtain call. As Wambach stood on the sideline waiting for a stoppage of play, fans chanted her name and the crowd roared when her substitution was announced.
Also getting a much deserved curtain call was Christie Rampone who came in for Alex Morgan in the 86th minute. Rampone, then known as Christie Pearce, was the last player still active from the last 1999 Women’s World Cup team who won the title. She finished her career just as she started it, on top of the world.