In the most stunning and shocking opening to this World Cup campaign, the final didn’t disappoint as USA completely dismantled Japan within the opening 15 minutes of the game.
The first half saw Japan abandon every basic duty as they completely crumbled in the waves of prolific attacks thrown at them by the Americans.
A stunning hat-trick from captain Carli Lloyd, which included a wonder strike from the half way line, accompanied goals from Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath to earn USA a very well deserved World Cup winners trophy.
Japan did fight back to deny USA a clean sheet but were completely outclassed by a unbelievably talented American team who ran out 5-2 winners in this thrilling World Cup Final.
USA start brightly
It was an explosive start to the game, the USA pressing high from the first whistle and immediately putting pressure on the Japanese back line.
Their efforts were rewarded with just two minutes on the clock when Lloyd pounced on a corner driven low to the outside of the box. The lively captain made a clever run to meet the ball unmarked and slotted home with ease to open the scoring.
Just moments later, Lloyd, amazingly doubled her tally from yet another set piece, giving USA a dream start and a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes.
What followed, was an unsettling display of nerves from the Japanese. They were completely overwhelmed by dazzling strings of attacks from the USA and looked anxious in their woeful defending.
USA lead 4-1 at half time.
Lloyd came out into the second half with the confidence you’d expect from someone who’d just scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final, exposing the Japanese with her quick feet and desire to get to every ball.
She was the one to provide USA with their first attempt on goal of the half, laying the ball back to Morgan Brian who forced Kaihori into tipping her shot over the crossbar.
It was Japan who opened the scoring in the second period though, defender Julie Johnston rose above the oncoming danger following a free-kick, but it was her deflection that directed the ball into her own net to take the score to 4-2.
It didn’t take the USA long to respond though, quickly forcing a string of corners which provided their fifth goal. Heath was the name on the score sheet this time, slotting in from close range after a perfectly placed assist from Brian.
From that point onwards, it was all USA. They picked up from where they left off in their exhilarating mission to not only win but to tear Japan apart, looking like they could score with every attack. The sheer speed and strength of Morgan and Lloyd as a front two was almost too much for the Japanese back-line as they struggled to fight off waves of pressure.
Japan, however, did have rare moments in the game that reflected their fourth in the world ranking. Ogimi and Miyama looked dangerous going forward, and despite their three-goal disadvantage late into the second half, they continued their attempts to salvage something from the game.
It was too little too late for Japan though, their efforts coming no where against a water-tight backline from USA.
USA are worthy World Champions after not only a phenomenal final but a phenomenal tournament, showcasing some unbelievable talent throughout.