My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Carli Lloyd 3, 5, 16; Lauren Holiday 14, Tobin Heath 54.
Yuki Ogimi 27, Julie Johnston own goal 52.
Both countries named the same starting eleven and formation that saw them win their semi-finals.
It took only three minutes for the USA to take the lead. Megan Rapnioe drove the ball towards the penalty spot, where Carli Lloyd had made a long run to blast the ball past Ayumi Kaihori.
Two minutes later, it was 2-0 as once again Japan failed to mark Lloyd. Lauren Holiday drove the ball to the near post, the ball rebounded off Rapinoe and there was Lloyd to tap the ball over the line.
And then it was 3-0. Tobin Heath’s cross was poorly cleared by Azusa Iwashimizu which looped the ball up, and Holiday blasted her volley into the back of the net.
Once again, it only took two minutes for America to score another goal, and this was special. Lloyd noticed that Kaihori was off her line, and on the half-way line she fired a shot which lobbed the keeper and bounced over the line, despite the keeper’s best attempts to clear.
They had a couple of chances soon after to extend their lead even further. Meghan Klingenberg’s cross picked out Lloyd who somehow missed the target with her header. And then Alex Morgan cut into the box and beat two defenders, but her shot was saved by Kaihori low down at the near post.
But then Japan pulled a goal back. Great play from Nahomi Kawasumi saw her pick out Yuki Ogimi, who expertly turned Julie Johnston and then curled the ball past Hope Solo.
They nearly got another goal back minutes later. Aya Sameshima’s cross was kept in by Kawasumi’s header who found Shinobu Ohno. She held the ball up before setting up Aya Miyama, but she shot straight at Solo.
Early in the second half, America came close to a fifth. Lovely skill from Lloyd saw her break into the box, but she air-kicked her shot. But she recovered to set up Morgan Brian on the edge of the box whose curled shot was tipped over by Kaihori.
But then Japan pulled a second goal back from a free-kick just inside the American half. Miyama launched the ball into the box and Julie Johnston headed the ball towards goal which wrong-footed Solo, who despite her best efforts couldn’t clear the ball off the line.
However, two minutes later America restored their three-goal lead and once again Japan failed to deal with a set piece. Holiday’s corner was only tamely punched clear by Kaihori, Brian cut the ball back across the area to Heath who scored.
Japan came close twice from long range, but both times Rumi Utsugi’s efforts just went wide.
America kept on asking questions. Morgan was given room to turn inside the penalty area, but she dragged her shot wide.
But then Japan managed to build some pressure. Miyama’s cross was headed down by Homare Sawa to Ogimi whose powerful shot was well saved by Solo, although the referee ruled Sawa that had fouled her defender. Then after a good period of build up Saori Ariyoshi fired the ball over. Miyama’s corner was punched clear to Mizuho Sakaguchi who volleyed wide. Minutes later, Miyama picked out Ogimi who headed straight at Solo.
With four minutes to go, America brought on the 40-year old Christie Rampone to win her 307th cap.
In the final seconds, Japan had a penalty appeal when Ogimi felt she had been nudged over by Becky Sauerbrunn, but the referee saw nothing wrong with it.
Carli Lloyd – USA
USA: (4-4-1-1) Hope Solo, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Tobin Heath (Abby Wambach 79), Lauren Holiday, Morgan Brian, Megan Rapinoe (Kelley O’Hara 61), Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan (Christie Rampone 86).
Goals: Carli Lloyd 3, 5, 16; Lauren Holiday 14; Tobin Heath 54.
Japan: (4-4-2) Ayumi Kaihori, Saori Ariyoshi, Azusa Iwashimizu (Homare Sawa 33), Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima, Nahomi Kawasumi (Yuika Sugasawa 39), Mizuho Sakaguchi, Rumi Utsugi, Aya Miyama, Shinobu Ohno (Mana Iwabuchi 60), Yuki Ogimi.
Goal: Yuki Ogimi 27, Julie Johnston own goal 52.
Booked: Homare Sawa 82, Mana Iwabuchi 85.