Women’s World Cup: Carli Lloyd’s hat trick leads U.S. to third title

Updated 12:59 PM EDT, Mon July 6, 2015

Story highlights

U.S. coach Jill Ellis calls star midfielder Carli Lloyd a "beast" and a "rock star"

Lloyd bags a hat trick, and Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath score the other goals

CNN —  

Soccer is a tough sell in America because it’s a low-scoring game. So goes the conventional wisdom.

Well, wise up, wisdom.

Because what happened inside the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sunday ought to make believers out of even the ultra-apathetic.

This wasn’t just the United States vanquishing Japan, the defending Women’s World Cup champions.

This was soccer, Oprah-cized – a 5-2 trouncing. “You get a goal! And you get a goal!”

This wasn’t just redemption for losing to Japan in the 2011 finals.

This was revenge served piping hot, over and over and over – with the first four U.S. goals in the first 16 minutes.

This wasn’t just a World Cup win for the first time in 16 years.

This was a win-of-a-kind: No other country has lifted the Women’s World Cup three times (1991, 1999 and now, 2015).

“It doesn’t feel real. We just made history,” said Carli Lloyd, the midfielder who set some records of her own.

But before we get to any of that, let’s start at the very end.

If the lasting image of the 1999 World Cup win is that of Brandi Chastain taking off her shirt and lifting her arms in triumph, the iconic moment of the 2015 may be this:

Forward Abby Wambach rushing to the stands after the game and kissing her wife, Sarah Huffman, as the crowd of 53,341 awwed.

This is soccer for the new century.

Read: Abby Wambach and wife share unforgettable kiss after World Cup win

The first four lightning strikes

Lloyd was on a mission.

With all the buzz centering on Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, Lloyd had been an afterthought going into the tournament.

Now, folks are joking her picture should be placed on the $10 bill,