Football: USA beat Japan 5-2 to clinch first Women's World Cup since 1999

Fans of the US women's soccer team celebrate a 5-2 victory over Japan in the World Cup final.
The United States celebrates after winning the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015 5-2 against Japan at BC Place Stadium.
The United States celebrates after winning the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015 5-2 against Japan at BC Place Stadium. PHOTO: AFP
The United States celebrates the 5-2 victory against Japan in the Fifa Women's World Cup.
The United States celebrates the 5-2 victory against Japan in the Fifa Women's World Cup. PHOTO: AFP

Vancouver (AFP/REUTERS) - American captain Carli Lloyd became the first woman to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final as she inspired the United States to a 5-2 demolition of defending champions Japan on Sunday.

The United States, winners in 1991 and 1999, became the first nation to win the crown three times and avenged their loss to Japan on penalties in the 2011 final.

Lloyd, 32, scored her first goal after just three minutes on the pitch at Vancouver's BC Place Stadium with the second coming two minutes later.

Her third, on 16 minutes, was one of the most remarkable goals ever witnessed in a Women's World Cup.

Upon gathering the ball in her own half, she saw Japan keeper Ayumi Kaihori far off her line and shot from the half-way line.

The scrambling Japanese keeper was only able to touch the ball on to the post and into the net. A goal from over 50 yards out, a rarity in any form of the game, surely will see Lloyd now crowned as winner of the Golden Ball for player of the tournament.

Teammates Lauren Holiday (14th) and Tobin Heath (54th) also found the net for the Stars and Stripes.

Yuki Ogimi got one back on 27 minutes for the Asian champions with their second coming thanks to a 52nd-minute own-goal by US defender Julie Johnson.

It was the third meeting between the two teams in a major championship with the Americans winning the Olympic gold ahead of Japan in 2012, when Lloyd scored both goals in a 2-1 win.