You know how cup finals are usually tightly contested affairs that take time to develop and can be decided by the slimmest of margins? That did not happen in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final. When the U.S. spoke about getting revenge against the team that beat them on penalties in the 2011 final, it turns out they weren’t kidding.
U.S. captain Carli Lloyd scored twice in the first five minutes against Japan, both times off of set pieces. Nine minutes later, Lauren Holiday added a third, and just as FIFA officials considered checking the stadium’s broom closets to see if the real Japan team was tied up somewhere, Lloyd completed her hat trick with a booming shot from the halfway line that went in off of Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori’s fingers as she slipped on the turf.
All of that happened in the first 16 minutes of the match. Carli Lloyd became the first player to score hat trick in the Women’s World Cup final and she did it in 16 minutes. SIXTEEN MINUTES! The only man to score a hat trick in a World Cup final was England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966 and he needed 120 minutes to do it.
Japan finally got a goal of their own in the 27th minute, breaking the U.S.’s streak of 540 minutes without conceding a goal (Australia scored one against them in the first half of their first match in the tournament). That goal also made this match the highest scoring Women’s World Cup ever. All within the first half hour.
The U.S. went on to win 5–2, winning the tournament for a record third time. And they did it on Megan Rapinoe’s birthday, no less. Hope Solo took the Golden Glove award and Carli Lloyd won both the Silver Boot and the Golden Ball awards as the tournament’s best player because obviously.