On Sunday night, the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team beat Japan in the 2015 FIFA World Cup. The win is impressive, but made even more profound when you consider all the firsts captured with this victory. The 5-2 win brought the United states team its first World Cup trophy since 1999 and cinched their place as the first women's team to seal a third win of the international title. Finally, the game was the biggest win in World Cup history, as the United States team earned an early three-goal lead that proved impossible for Japan to overcome. By keeping that lead, the U.S. woman's team made history. Before their win, no World Cup final had ever been won by more than two goals.
By all accounts, the game was a thrill to watch. The U.S. team quickly dominated the match, racing to a 4-0 lead within the first sixteen minutes of the game. That stunning stat only tells part of the story, though. Midfielder Carli Lloyd set the tone for the match within the first five minutes, scoring a remarkable two goals before Japan's defense had time to blink. Eleven minutes later, Lloyd had done it again, snagging a third goal and the fastest hat trick in Women's World Cup history.
Lloyd had significant help to keep that momentum and secure the win over the Japanese team. Goals from Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath devastated the Japan women's team — and two saves from goalie Hope Solo staved off any hope of a second consecutive win for Japan. After the win, Lloyd had this to say to a Fox Sports reporter:
I am speechless. I am so proud of this team. This doesn't feel real, it hasn't sunk in. We just made history.
Japan had been considered an underdog leading into the final world cup match on Sunday. The team, ranked fourth in the world, was trying for a quick follow-up to winning the 2011 World Cup over Germany. The 2015 game could also be considered a grudge match between the U.S. and Japan, since the Americans twice won the lead during their last face-off, but failed to hold it.
The seven goals scored in the final game (two were discounted by the officials) easily set a record for the most points earned in a women's word cup final. Speaking to Fox Sports after the victory, coach Jill Ellis described what it feels like to lead a history-making team:
Pure elation and I'm just so proud of them, and so happy for every American girl who dreams about this.
For her outstanding performance in the World Cup, Carli Lloyd earned the Golden Ball (for best player at the tournament) and Silver Boot (for second top scorer) awards. In keeping with the theme of the night, Lloyd is the second American to win the Golden Ball, and the first to score in four back-to-back women's World Cup matches.