We did it, the United States Women’s National Team has won their third World Cup.
For the first match, USWNT swept past Australia 3-1. The U.S. was able to score first with a 12-footer by Megan Rapinoe. Australia rallied back in the first half by a goal made by Australia’s captain, Lisa De Vanna. The second goal for the USWNT went in the stats book under Christen Press from 61 ft. 15 minutes later, Rapinoe made it a safe bet and gave her team an insurance goal from 78 feet, giving us what would be the final score of 3-1.
After this match, USWNT tied with Sweden 0-0 in full time.
Their next match was against Nigeria where they won 1-0, with one goal by U.S. captain and veteran Abby Wambach at 45 feet. This was her second start of the World Cup and her first goal, her 183rd during international play (the most by a man or woman). With this win, the U.S. won Group D and advanced to elimination round. Although the USWNT only won 1-0, they took twice as many shots as Nigeria and managed to stay out of foul trouble. Sarah Nnodim of Nigeria was given two yellow cards resulting in a red card and an ejection. This loss to the U.S. eliminated Nigeria from the World Cup all together.
Now was the second stage, the elimination round, where the USWNT just kept rolling through.
For the first match, they played Colombia (against APSU’s very own former player Tatiana Ariza) and blew past them 2-0 to get to the quarterfinals. Both goals came in the second half, one by Alex Morgan after the Colombia’s goalie fill in, a University of Miami student, was red-carded thus resulting in an ejection. Carli Lloyd scored her first goal (of many) and the insurance goal in the 66th minute of the game, giving what would be the final score.
The next match was the quarterfinals where USWNT beat China in a close one 1-0 when Lloyd scored the only goal during the 50th minute at the beginning of the second half.
The semifinals were next against No. 1 Germany where they were able to pull out a win 2-0. It was Lloyd’s turn again to make this game in USWNT’s favor with a goal on a penalty kick, her third goal of the Cup. Not much later, Lloyd was able to assist Kelley O’Hara’s goal to give America the win over Germany. Up next was a 2011 rematch of a World Cup final, when the U.S. lost to Japan in a shootout
During the 2015 final game, USWNT decided this game was going to have a different outcome than the last time the U.S. faced defending champs, Japan. In the first 16 minutes of the game, the USWNT was already on the board 4-0 and Lloyd had already notched a hat trick, the only time this has ever been done in the Women’s World Cup finals.
Lloyd’s first goal of the game was scored in the third minute, which is the fastest scored goal in the Women’s World Cup Final. Lauren Holiday was able to sneak one in during the 14th minute to give the USWNT a 3-0 lead. Japan struck back with two goals, but it wasn’t enough, especially when Tobin Heath scored what would be the final goal of the game giving the U.S. a 5-2 lead and victory over Japan. Japan’s 27th minute goal made the U.S. six seconds shy of breaking a record- 540 minutes of shutout.
Wambach, who joined the team in 2001, just shy of their last World Cup title in 1999, is finally able to say she is a World Champion after her final minutes in the World Cup. With this win, this gives the USWNT bragging rights as they are the first and only team to win three World Cups (1991, 1999, 2015). When Wambach joined her team in the 19th minute, Lloyd passed the captian’s armband to her and the stadium went wild. According to tweeters, almost every American watching got emotional in some way, as these could be Wambach’s final minutes of the World Cup, ever.
After the Cup, awards were presented, and the USWNT brought home a few more trophies than just the World Cup. Goalie, Hope Solo won the tournament’s Golden Glove. Lloyd took home the Golden Ball after tying Germany’s Celia Sacic for most goals during the tournament at six, all coming in the knockout round, and three being in the final. Lloyd is the first American to win the Golden Ball since Carin Jennings in 1991. The U.S. has also scored the most goals in history at 112, while Germany is right behind them with 111.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this World Cup averaged 5.3 million viewers, 121% higher than the 2011 tournament, and 33% higher than TNT’s average for NBA playoff coverage. The win against Germany attracted 8.4 million viewers, the most ever for a women’s soccer match that was not a final.