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Most soccer players are ecstatic if they score one goal in a major tournament. So you can only imagine how Carli Lloyd must have felt after she managed to put away three goals, within just 16 minutes in the biggest game of all — The 2015 World Cup Final against Japan.
The excitement began a few minutes into the game when the U.S. midfielder who was also the team captain, deftly snuck a ball past Japanese goalkeeper, Ayumi Kaihori. And then to Japan's dismay, she did it again! In addition to establishing a strong lead for the U.S. team, Lloyd also made history by scoring the fastest back-to-back goals in FIFA history.
But with over 85 minutes left in the game, there was still plenty of time for Japan to even the score. At least that was the consensus during the few minutes it took U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday to score yet another goal bringing the score to 3-0.
Then, in what can only be described a surreal moment, both on and off the field, Carli Lloyd did it again - this time all the way from midfield! Not only did the talented player pull off the first hat trick in the history of Women's World Cup Soccer but also did so in the fastest time in the tournament's history. Tobin Heath put the final nail in the coffin with a fifth goal during the second half.
Though the Japanese team fought back valiantly and even managed to score two goals, it was too late. The American players were just too dominant. In addition to ending the country's 16-year World Cup victory drought with a decisive 5-2 victory, the U.S. also become the first women's team to win the coveted title three times.
What made the win even more special was that the U.S. had encountered the same team in the 2011 finals. However, the outcome had been slightly different with Japan taking home the World Cup title after defeating the U.S. in a penalty shootout.
In addition to the prestigious gold medal, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo also took home the Adidas Gold Glove trophy for her stellar defense efforts. Not surprisingly, Carli Lloyd, who scored a total of six goals (including Sunday's three) was awarded the Adidas Golden Ball trophy as the tournament's most outstanding player. Cari Jennings is the only other American to have won this title at the inaugural Women's World Cup held in China in 1991.
The Adidas Golden Boot trophy for the most goals scored in the tournament went to Germany's Celia Sasic. Though she and Lloyd had the same count, Sasic managed to score her six goals with less time on the field.
What's next for these amazing women? A visit to the White House to show off their World Cup trophy and medals to President Obama. Then it will be back to the field to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to try to bring home the gold medal for the fourth consecutive time!