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Carli Lloyd living her W/Cup dream

06 July 2015, 16:02

Vancouver - Carli Lloyd had scored the winning goals for the United States in their last two Olympic gold-medal wins in Beijing and London.

The only blot on her international career had been missing in the penalty shoot-out that gave Japan the World Cup title in Germany in 2011.

But that was behind the 32-year-old from New Jersey on Sunday night in Vancouver as she stole the show with a stunning hat-trick -- the first ever in the final of the women's tournament -- in a 5-2 rout of Japan.

Her first goal was the fastest ever in a final after just three minutes and 13 minutes later she scored her third from the midfield line over the head of Ayumi Kaihori in the Japan goal.

Not satisfied the Houston Dash midfielder raced forward again, looking surprised as she missed a chance for a fourth.

Also read: Lloyd and USA ready to bury W/Cup heartache

"I dreamed and visualised playing in a World Cup final and scoring four goals," revealed Lloyd afterwards of her pre-tournament preparations.

"It sounds pretty funny but that's what it's all about. At the end of the day you can be physically strong, you can have all the tools out there but if your mental state isn't good enough you can't bring yourself to bigger and better things."

- 'on a mission' -

Picturing herself winning the title and scoring goals was a key part of her mental preparation for an event in which she scored six goals - equal with Germany's Celia Sasic.

She won the Golden Ball award as the tournament's top player, but took the Silver Boot for the top scorer behind Sasic whose top-ranked side the US eliminated 2-0 in the semi-finals with Lloyd scoring a penalty.

"For me I've constantly been visualising, constantly been growing confident with each and every game and I was on a mission today," she explained.

Her first goal of the tournament was in their 2-0 win over Colombia in the last 16, and she also scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over China.

"I think slow and steady wins the race," she said of the US team's progress.

"For me it has been a long journey, my career.

"I've dedicated my whole life to this, and everything comes second but I wouldn't have it any other way."

Lloyd did not have her family, friends or fiance in Vancouver with her, preferring to focus solely on winning the title.

"The mental side of the game is an absolutely huge thing.

"Not having anybody here I was solely focused on my job, doing everything I can to help my team win," said Lloyd who has now scored 69 goals in 202 games for the Stars and Stripes.

"It's a surreal moment, we just wrote history and brought this World Cup trophy home which is unbelieable."

The United States became the first team to win three titles after 1991 and 1999.

She was 16 when she saw the US win their last title - veteran teammate Christie Rampone, at 40 years the oldest ever player in the tournament was on that roster.

"When I watched the '99 team play, I never thought I would be part of something like that, part of a World Cup team.

"They were the pioneers, now it's our turn to keep the tradition going and in four years time (in France) we want to be world champions again."

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