Call it revenge, hashtag it #ThirdStar, or declare it a rout—any way you slice it, the USA is the best in the world. In front of 53,341 in Vancouver, the US Women's National Team got their rematch against the 2011 World Cup winners and decimated Japan with a 5-2 victory.
In shades of last year's semi-final between Germany and Brazil, the USA put the game out of sight almost before it had started. Two set-piece goals from Carli Lloyd inside the first five minutes put Japan in a bad place before some fans had even turned the game on.
Lauren Holiday would pull down a deflected cross in the 14th minute to push the margin to three, and as the clock ticked past a quarter of an hour, Carli Lloyd unleashed an audacious chip from the midfield line to catch out Ayumi Kaihori and complete her hat trick:
Lloyd's hat trick was the first ever in a Women's World Cup final, and the quickest scored at any World Cup. "When you're feeling good mentally, physically, those plays just are instincts," Lloyd said after the match. "It just happens. I feel like I blacked out for the first 30 minutes or so."
Despite a four goal gap in the opening stages, neither team would let up. Japan would not capitulate, and pulled back a goal in the 27th minute via Yuki Ogimi. An own goal from US defender Julie Johnston cut the lead to 4-2 early in the second half, but Tobin Heath would return the match status to "rout" just two minutes later.
The USA saw out the game with confidence, with Japan never really being able to find a way to disrupt a dominant US time that had peaked at just the right time. In the sort of move that having a large lead affords you, Jill Ellis subbed in both Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone in the closing minutes, allowing them to see out their final World Cup on the field.
The championship is the first for the USA since the famous penalty shootout win in 1999, and their third since the Women's World Cup started in 1991. The performance set a number of records - ESPN's Paul Carr has a great list - and a larger number of celebrations, including the mandatory Drunken Team Performance Of Queen's We Are The Champions:
The three leaders of the USA expressed their pleasure with the win via social media:
Cheered on the red, white, and blue tonight. Great goals. Inspiring victory. pic.twitter.com/7uwkOcm86x
— Vice President Biden (@VP) July 6, 2015
What a win for Team USA! Great game @CarliLloyd! Your country is so proud of all of you. Come visit the White House with the World Cup soon.
— President Obama (@POTUS) July 6, 2015
The USWNT has a pair of friendlies planned against Costa Rica in August, but will be taking on a nation-wide celebration tour in the near future.