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Lloyd inspires USA to third World Cup title

 VANCOUVER, July 6 (AFP): Carli Lloyd became the first woman to score a hattrick in a World Cup final as she inspired the United States to a 5-2 demolition of defending champions Japan.

 The United States, winners in 1991 and 1999, became the first nation yesterday to win the crown three times and avenged their loss to Japan on penalties in the 2011 final.

Lloyd, 32, scored her first goal after just three minutes on the pitch at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium with the second coming two minutes later, and her third after 16 minutes.

“I was on a mission today,” said Lloyd, whose teammates Lauren Holiday (14) and Tobin Heath (54) also found the net.

Yuki Ogimi got one back on 27 minutes for the Asian champions with their second coming thanks to a 52nd-minute own-goal by US defender Julie Johnson.

“It’s unreal, it just hasn’t sunk in yet,” Lloyd said. “I’m mentally fried.

“We knew that if we took it to Japan they would get nervous on the pitch.”

Coach Jill Ellis said her only thought after the early goal-fest was: “Pinch me, wake me up!”

“We’d talked about starting fast, and I just knew that the players could deliver.

“These players were born for the big moments,” she added. “I envisaged us winning the trophy. I think five (goals) is a dream come true.”

It was the third meeting between the two teams in a major championship with the Americans winning the Olympic gold ahead of Japan in 2012, when Lloyd scored both goals in a 2-1 win.

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