Women's World Cup 2015: USA's Carli Lloyd 'dreamed' of scoring

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Women's World Cup 2015 final highlights: USA 5-2 Japan

Carli Lloyd revealed she had dreamed of scoring from the halfway line before her long-range strike helped USA beat 5-2 Japan to win the Women's World Cup.

The 32-year-old hit a hat-trick inside the first 16 minutes, with her third goal coming from long range.

"I did it once in training but very rarely do you wind up and hit it like that," said Lloyd, who missed a penalty in the 2011 final defeat by Japan.

"You train and train and train and I dreamed of scoring a shot like that."

Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath also scored as USA became the first side to win the trophy on three occasions after previous successes in 1991 and 1999.

Lloyd, who had scored in each of her side's last three matches, took only three minutes to open the scoring in Vancouver.

Her second came two minutes later and, after Holliday's volley made it 3-0, she beat Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori from distance.

"When you're feeling good mentally and physically, those plays are instinctive," said the Houston Dash player.

Lloyd, who said she practises visualisation techniques, added: "I was at home with my headphones on but I was on the field and I was running and doing sprints.

"I completely zoned out and dreamed of playing in a World Cup final and scoring four goals. It sounds funny but that's what it is all about.

"I feel like I blacked out for the first 30 minutes of the game. It was crazy."

Carli Lloyd
Captain Carli Lloyd led by example in the final

Trailing 4-0 after 16 minutes, Japan pulled two goals back through Yuki Ogimi and a Julie Johnston own goal before Heath grabbed a fifth for USA.

Lloyd's hat-trick took her total to six for the tournament, the same as Golden Boot winner Celia Sasic from Germany.

"I've had people believe in me," added the American midfielder. "Fitness was definitely an issue for me but I've turned that into a strength and the mental side of the game is a huge thing.

"I'm just really proud of everyone. It's a surreal moment, we made history."

Victory for the US under English-born coach Jill Ellis has come after criticism of the team's performances in the build-up to the tournament and during the group stages in Canada.

The 48-year-old took the job 14 months ago after previous boss Tom Sermanni was sacked.

But Ellis, who was born in Portsmouth, said: "I told the players they had to continue to believe in the process and it had to be a fast process because I was hired about year ago.

"There have been some growing pains but it's not vindication, it just feels really good and I could not be more proud of the players and the staff because I knew they had it in them."

Social media reaction: Come to the White House soon

Barack Obama
USA President Barack Obama is impressed and wants to see the Womens' World Cup winners soon
Shinji Kagawa
Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, an ex-Manchester United player, praises the Japanese squad
Lianne Sanderson
England striker Lianne Sanderson, who has played club football in America, was impressed by Carli Lloyd
Ronaldinho
Former Brazil forward Ronaldinho congratulates the American team
Marvin Sordell
Burnley striker Marvin Sordell thinks it was comic book stuff from Carli Lloyd

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