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USA strike gold
 Women's Football News 10 Aug 2012
 
United States 2 (Lloyd 8,54) Japan 1 (Ogimi 63)
Carli Lloyd scored twice as the United States took the Olympic title for the third time in succession in front of more than 80,000 at Wembley. 
 
However they needed to work extremely hard against a Japan side which had a number of chances during the course of another enthralling game.
 
USA struck an early blow by taking the lead after only eight minutes. Tobin Heath made a good break and crossed for Alex Morgan whose far post chip seemed destined for Abby Wambach but Lloyd stole in and got to the ball first, planting a header into the corner of the net.
 
Japan hit back with Nahomi Kawasumi's shot being blocked by Christie Rampone and Yuki Ogimi was denied by a brilliant save from Hope Solo, the American goalkeeper tipping her header on to the bar.
 
Japan continued to attack with their renowned passing style and they had strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Heath appeared to handle a free kick from Aya Miyama. However they did have a lucky break themselves at the other end when Azusa Iwashimuzu headed an Amy Le Peilbet cross against her own post.
 
Miyama also hit the woodwork shortly afterwards after being found unmarked in the area by Shinobu Ohno, who was next to go close when curling a shot inches past the post.
 
USA held on to their lead going into half time before increasing it nine minutes after the restart with a goal worthy of winning any final.
 
Lloyd picked the ball up in midfield and drove at the Japanese defence which, for once, backed off and did not close her down. The midfielder then unleashed a superb 20-yard strike which sailed inside the post, giving Miho Fukumoto no chance.
 
It looked a long way back for Japan now but they came up with the response they needed to get themselves back into the game. Ohno's slide rule pass into the area was laid off by Kawasumi for Homare Sawa, whose initial shot was blocked by Rampone but Sawa managed to win the ball back from the rebound and Ogimi was on hand to tuck home from close range.
 
The game was back in the balance now but neither side showed any willingness to defend and USA were next to go close, Rachel Buehler being denied by a Fukumoto save. Lloyd then went within a few inches of a stunning hat-trick when she let fly from 25 yards, this time with her left foot, but her strike was just over the bar.
 
Japan then had a glorious chance to level the scores as Mana Iwabuchi dispossessed Rampone just outside the area and took the ball forward before trying to find the far corner of the net but an alert Solo dived to her left to push her shot away.
 
Wambach missed a late chance for USA from Morgan's cross but it was academic, her side ran the clock down without any further scares to round off a hat-trick of successes and avenge their defeat in last year's World Cup Final. 
 
United States: Hope Solo, Amy Le Peilbet, Christie Rampone, Rachel Buehler (sub Becky Sauerbrunn 80mins), Kelley O'Hara, Shannon Boxx, Megan Rapinoe (sub Lauren Cheney 57mins), Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath. Subs not used: Heather Mitts, Amy Rodriguez, Sydney Leroux, Heather O'Reilly, Nicole Barnhart.

Japan: Miho Fukumoto, Yukari Kinga, Azusa Iwashimuzu, Saki Kumagai, Aya Sameshima (sub Mana Iwabuchi 77mins), Mizuho Sakaguchi (sub Asuna Tanaka 59mins), Yuki Ogimi, Aya Miyama, Nahomi Kawasumi, Homare Sawa, Shinobu Ohno (sub Karina Maruyama 86mins). Subs not used: Kyoko Yano, Kozue Ando, Megumi Takase, Ayumi Kaihori.

 
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