The final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was a replay of the 2011 World Cup final and the 2012 Olympic final between Japan and the United States. The teams had one victory each against each other before the final (Japan won the World Cup in 2011 and the US Olympics 2014) and the question now was who would get win number two in what has become a clash of the titans and a classic encounter in women’s football. We did not have to wonder for long since USA and Carli Lloyd gave us answers immediately.
Team USA started the match at a furious pace. Rapid runs and hearty passes. The first goal came after only three minutes from Carli Lloyd in the Japanese penalty box. She also made 2-0 two minutes later. After only five minutes of play, the United States had a firm grip of the final. Japan was not recognizable. They were passive in their defense and appeared to be shaken. United States continued to put on pressure in the offensive game. Lauren Holiday scored 3-0 in the 14th minute. Lloyd completed a hat-trick with a goal from the half the field in the 16th minute. After just over a quarter of an hour played of the final, the match was pretty much over even if Japan got a consolation goal through Yuki Ogimi in the 27th minute. Maybe someone had thoughts of Sweden’s match against Germany from 4-0 to 4-4 in World Cup qualifiers last year when USA scored an own goal a few minutes into the second half. Those thoughts disappeared quickly, however, when Tobin Heath put the 5-2 a few minutes later which also became the final score.
Road to the final
If we take a look at how the teams were drawn in the tournament we get a better understanding of why the final match was such an uneven match. FIFA has not been known to promote sportsmanship and fair play recently and Women’s World Cup 2015 is no exception. To enhance the tournament’s PR, the home team Canada was probably given an easier draw to make them go further in the playoffs. Canada, however, were eliminated by England in the quarterfinals, while Japan has met relatively light resistance in the play offs: Netherlands, Australia and England. The United States made the final after beating Colombia, China and Germany. The true final was perhaps the semifinal between USA and Germany which sadly got decided by questionable decisions by the referee. Despite this, however, we have experienced a nice football tournament in Canada this summer. More nations than earlier has been involved and challenged for places in the play offs and medals. The bronze went to England who beat Germany, something the English men’s team have had problems with in the major tournaments.
A total of 52 matches were played and 146 goals were scored which gives 2,8 goals per match. Germany’s Célia Šašić and USA’s Carli Lloyd were the top goal scorers with six goals each. The 2019 Women’s World Cup will be played in France. Before then, we are looking forward to the Olympic games 2016 and the European Championships 2017.
These countries have previously won the tournament:
1991: United States
1999: United States
2015: United States
Sweden took silver in 2003 and bronze in 1991 and 2011.