The U.S. women's soccer team beat Japan 5-2 in the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup Sunday, winning its third World Cup title in history and first in 16 years.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The latest from the Women's World Cup final (all times local):
The United States has won its third Women's World Cup title and first since 1999 with a 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday behind a first-half hat trick by Carli Lloyd.
The Americans became the first country with three women's titles and got a measure of revenge for their loss in the 2011 final against Japan. Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone, the only player remaining from the 1999 title team, both came on as subs late in what's expected to be their final World Cup appearances.
Lloyd scored in the third, sixth and 16th minutes, the last a speculative shot from midfield that beat Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. Lloyd scored the fastest hat trick in World Cup history, men's or women's, in the highest scoring Women's World Cup final.
Lauren Holiday also scored in the first half and Tobin Heath added a goal in the 54th minute after Japan scored an own goal to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Abby Wambach has come on for the United States in what is expected to be her final Women's World Cup appearance.
Wambach subbed on in the 79th minute against Japan with the U.S. leading 5-2. Wambach has morphed from being a starter to a late sub off the bench during the tournament, a role that seemed to boost the American attack.
Chants of "We want Abby," started around the 65-minute mark. The roar grew when she was called over to the bench in the 75th minute.
Wambach isn't the only star making her World Cup farewell. Japan's Homare Sawa came on in the first half. Sawa is playing in her record sixth Women's World Cup.
Just when Japan appeared to have a glimmer of hope, Tobin Heath answered back in a hurry for the Americans.
Moments after Japan scored on an own goal, Heath scored off a scramble in the penalty area to give the United States a 5-2 lead.
Japan had just cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 52nd minute when U.S. defender Julie Johnston's header went past goalkeeper Hope Solo and into the American net.
But the U.S. responded briskly with Morgan Brian laying off a pass into the middle of the box where Heath was unmarked.
The seven combined goals are the most ever in a Women's World Cup final.
Carli Lloyd rewrote the Women's World Cup record book with three goals in the first 16 minutes as the United States took a 4-1 lead at halftime of the final against Japan on Sunday.
Lloyd set records for the fastest goal and became the first woman to score a hat trick in the World Cup final. She also was the third American woman to score a hat trick in any World Cup match, joining Michelle Akers and Carin Jennings Gabarra, both of which came during the 1991 tournament.
Lloyd's hat trick was the fastest in women's or men's World Cup history.
Lloyd is also the first American to score goals in four straight World Cup matches.
Lauren Holiday's goal in the 14th minute gave the Americans a 3-0 lead and Lloyd scored from midfield moments later. She also had chances at a fourth and possibly fifth goal during the first half.
Japan is on the board with a goal from Yuki Ogimi, cutting its deficit to 4-1 and ending the United States' streak of not allowing a goal at 540 minutes.
Ogimi scored just before the half-hour mark in Sunday's Women's World Cup final. She out-positioned Julie Johnston for a cross into the U.S. penalty area and beat American goalkeeper Hope Solo with a left-footed shot.
The U.S. had not allowed a goal since the opening match of the tournament against Australia.
The rout is on.
Carli Lloyd scored her third goal of the first half catching Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori off her line and scoring from midfield as the United States has taken a 4-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the Women's World Cup final.
Lloyd scored the two fastest goals in Women's World Cup history, scoring twice in the first six minutes of the match. Lauren Holiday scored to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead when she volleyed a shot past Kaihori after a header from Japan defender Azusa Iwashimizu went straight up in the air.
Moments later Lloyd took a speculative shot from midfield and completed her hat trick.
The United States has taken a 2-0 lead on two goals from captain Carli Lloyd in the first six minutes of the Women's World Cup final against Japan.
Lloyd scored in the third minute off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe that was driven low into the penalty box. Lloyd made a run from outside the box and one-touched the shot past Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori.
Moments later, Lloyd scored again off a scramble in the penalty area in the sixth minute after a free kick from the U.S. just outside the Japan penalty area.
Abby Wambach hopes the "fairytale-like ending," comes on Sunday for not only herself but her U.S. teammates.
In an extended monologue interview with Fox Sports, Wambach says, "I hope this is it, not just for me but this entire group of women."
Wambach fought back tears throughout the seven-minute interview that was shown prior to the Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan. Wambach says she's not one to often show a vulnerable side but the days are ticking away for her pro soccer career.
"I've had the best life and it's all in total because of the friendships I've made. I've literally grown up on this team and the good, the bad and the ugly my teammates have helped me through it all," Wambach said.
Wambach was not in the starting lineup for the U.S., but is expected to be one of the first options off the bench.
Jill Ellis has no doubt she's made her dad proud.
John Ellis served as a commando in the British Marines, and had a long career as a coach, before moving the family to Virginia when Jill was a young girl.
The U.S. coach has relied on her father's advice at the Women's World Cup. Ellis faced criticism early on for the team's stagnant offense. But step by step throughout the tournament, the Americans have come together.
Now the United States is in the final facing Japan, the team that beat them four years ago at the World Cup in Germany.
Ellis has proven adept at shutting out the noise, saying her dad told her when she got into coaching that "50 percent will be with you and 50 percent will be against you."
John Ellis is not in Canada for the final. But the 76-year-old does send his daughter texts reading, "Three deep breaths. Keep going."
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Vancouver around midday Sunday and met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper prior to attending the Women's World Cup final between Japan and the U.S.
Biden led a U.S. delegation to the final that included his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, and two former U.S. soccer stars: Mia Hamm and Cobi Jones. Also traveling with the vice president: three of his grandchildren and President Barack Obama's daughter Sasha, according to a pool report.
Jill Biden led the delegation to the final in 2011 in Germany which the U.S. lost to Japan, but her husband was absent from that trip.
Japan was reeling in the wake of the destructive tsunami that struck the country in March 2011. Its women's soccer team had a World Cup in Germany to prepare for while the country was trying to rebuild.
One of the opposing countries that became critical in helping Japan prepare for that World Cup it eventually won with friendlies and joint practices: The United States.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki said before Sunday's final that he was thankful for how the U.S. helped Japanese soccer during a "tough situation."
This will be the third straight major final between the countries with Japan winning the World Cup in 2011 and the U.S. winning the Olympic final in 2012. The Japanese women became stars and a rallying point for their country in the wake of the tsunami, but interest in the team has waned in the years since.
"If we can win, we can make soccer a part of Japanese culture, not just a fad," Japan captain Aya Miyama said.
Vancouver is awash in the stars and stripes.
American fans filled the streets of Vancouver on Sunday ahead of the Women's World Cup final between Japan and the United States.
A large number of those fans came from the Pacific Northwest, with easy access from the soccer hotbeds of Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Sounders, Timbers, Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns jerseys were scattered among the crowd of American jerseys with the names "Wambach," "Leroux" and "Morgan" across the back.
But not all were locals. One family riding the train Sunday morning decided to have a family reunion in Vancouver for the final. One part of the family was from Virginia, the other from California. They bought their tickets for the final at halftime of the U.S. semifinal match against Germany when the game was still tied 0-0 in the hopes the U.S. would prevail.
They turned out to be right.