That was the sound heard around the world seven times in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Vancouver, Canada on Sunday. This record-breaking, high-scoring game was a rematch of the 2011 final. Four years ago, Japan beat the U.S. in a shootout. This year, the outcome was far different with the U.S. dominating the field and winning 5-2. I was in the stands to see it all go down.
Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium — almost at capacity with 53,341 fans — was overwhelmingly full of Americans carrying the American flag, wearing USA national team jerseys, and donning every type of over-the-top Fourth of July gear you can imagine. There were so many American symbols at the stadium that it was hard to believe we were in Canada! There was even enthusiasm for the American women at the U.S.-Canada border. Everyone came together to support Team USA’s journey, which is likely the last for favorites Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone, who are probably retiring soon.
The love for the U.S. greeted us at the fan shop, too. People were so confident about the game and so eager to buy a piece of history to bring home with them that they were willing to wait in line for more than an hour to get into the store. The location by our seats on the upper level was out of almost every soccer ball, t-shirt, sweatshirt, scarf, and program book by halftime.
When we took our seats, the stadium was bursting with anticipation for the game. Both teams were escorted onto the field for the opening ceremony. For the U.S. women, who were already feeling confident coming off of their decisive 2-0 victory over Germany in the semifinals, it must have been a dream come true. But for the Japanese team it must have been an nightmare hearing the crowd erupt in a chant of “USA! USA! USA!”
Then the game started. Imagine our surprise when not even two minutes into the game Carli Lloyd popped the ball into the net. The crowd went wild. After that first goal, Japan seemed a bit deflated. Then Lloyd did it again in the fifth minute. And once again we were on our feet. Lauren Holiday followed up Lloyd’s goals when she crushed the ball and put it into the back of the net for a score in the 14th minute.
After seeing that the Japanese goalie was far out from the goal, Lloyd launched a ball from midfield that bounced over the goalie’s head and went into the net. We were 16 minutes into the game and the U.S. team had a hat trick from Lloyd plus another goal! We could not believe it!
Yuki Ogimi connected on a beautiful shot to put Japan on the board. Japan’s second goal came from an unfortunate fluke of an own goal by American Julie Johnston. The U.S. sealed the win with a Tobin Heath goal in the 53rd minute. When it was over, the U.S. women captured the record for most goals scored in the World Cup. They also became the first women’s team to win three World Cups.
After the game, the women ran and got flags from the fans. When the awards podium came out, the Americans on the field got really riled up. They kept running and jumping on each other. When FIFA executives came onto the field, everyone booed because of all the trouble FIFA has been in lately. That was the only booing all day! Both teams received their medals and then the U.S. received its World Cup trophy. What a celebration!
I had an amazing time watching the Women’s World Cup over the past month and, of course, being at final. I loved seeing the teams come together and the support shown by their countries. Being at a game where my team and my country came together for a world victory is something I will always remember.
Photos: Isabel Gomez