Carli Lloyd scored the fastest hat-trick in Women’s World Cup history to lead the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) to its third world cup triumph — its first since 1999. Lloyd’s hat-trick, the first one in a world cup final, took just sixteen minutes as the U.S. defeated Japan 5-2 and exacted revenge for their defeat at the world cup final four years ago.
Lloyd, who had scored in each of the previous knockout rounds, finished off her hat-trick with a sensational strike from the halfway line, catching the Japanese goalkeeper out of her position and putting the USWNT 4-0 up within just sixteen minutes.
Lloyd’s record-breaking performance also earned her the Golden Ball, awarded to the most valuable player of the tournament. On the other end of the field, goalie Hope Solo picked up the Golden Glove award. Having conceded her first goal within the first half hour of the tournament, Solo then kept clean sheets till Japan scored in the final. By then, U.S. already had a 4-0 lead and the contest was virtually over.
While Lloyd’s performance on the biggest stage of women’s soccer was nothing short of spectacular, she showed her classy side too. With victory all but guaranteed, it was time for one last bow for the legend Abby Wambach. When the all-time leading scorer stepped onto the pitch for one last World Cup appearance, Lloyd gave her the captain’s armband; she had taken on the role of captain in Wambach and Christie Rampone’s absence. Rampone, the only remaining member of the victorious team from 1999, would lift the world cup trophy together with Abby Wambach at the end of final whistle.