posted Jul 6 2015 1:12PM
It definitely took longer than any US Soccer fan or player wanted but the wait is FINALLY over. On Sunday July 5th, one day after celebrating our country's Independence, the US Women's National team defeated Japan in the World Cup Final 5-2. Taking home their 3rd cup, more than any other country in the world, and the first since 1999. This victory was a little bit sweeter because it came with a side of revenge.
Back in 2011, the US lost to Japan in the Final game via penalty shootout after blowing two one-goal leads. One in regulation and one in extra time. Japan showed great poise and resilience against a US team that experts thought had no chance of losing. They were wrong. Though Japan's motivations were a little more complicated than winning on soccer's biggest stage.
Japan had just been hit by a tsunami that claimed almost 19,000 lives. As you may know by now, especially after 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, sports usually play a pivotal roll in repairing damage and bringing people together. This was the case in 2011. The people of Japan were swimming in a pool of death and used the World Cup as a distraction.
Even though the US lost the game, it was impossible to stay upset for too long. You had to respect the fact that a Japanese team, that many people thought to be inferior, went toe to toe with the best in the world and won. But this is 2015. The US came in ranked #2 in the world behind Germany and were a favorite to win the tournament. When Japan beat England 2-1 in the semi-finals, it set up a huge World Cup Final rematch between the two squads that many again thought the US would win. This time our ladies delivered!
Carli Lloyd opened up a can of whoop ass scoring 3 goals in 16 minutes, including a goal from mid-field, for the first hat trick ever in a World Cup Final. It is likely that this will be her last tournament, along with Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone who hoisted the cup during the post game ceremony. For the players and many fans, a weight has been lifted off our shoulders with this victory. We will enjoy it, celebrate it, and brag about it like only American's can do. Then we will focus on 2019 and a fourth star next to the US Soccer logo!