It was an eagerly awaited rematch that was only made possible for the Americans by last-second heroics.
Powered by two goals from Carli Lloyd and sensational saves by goalie Hope Solo on Thursday, the Americans prevailed 2-1 over Japan – and avenged their heartbreaking World Cup loss to earn a third straight Olympic gold medal.
The victory took place before 80,203 fans, the largest crowd ever for women’s Olympic soccer.
The U.S. had only barely made it to the finals, thanks to the dramatic header goal by Alex Morgan in extra time against Canada three days ago.
Although Japan dominated the time of possession with its control game, the U.S. struck first when Lloyd knocked in a header on a pass from Morgan in the eighth minute.
The U.S. expanded on its 1-0 halftime lead in the 54th minute when Lloyd rocketed a goal into the left side of the net.
Japan got one goal back on Yuki Ogimi’s score in the 63rd minute and nearly got another but for Solo’s lunging save of a shot from close range.
Since women’s soccer started at the 1996 Atlanta Games, the U.S. has won three straight titles and four of five overall.
Hope Solos Off-Field Guilty Pleasures