In what was a fascinating Olympic final, the midfielder struck twice to win her country a third straight gold medal, as their opponents claimed their first ever medal in the sport
United States have been crowned Olympic champions with a 2-1 win over their World Cup victors Japan in the women’s final.
It did not take long for the Americans to exact their revenge when a pin-point cross from Alex Morgan was turned in by the diving Carli Lloyd after confusion in the penalty area.
Japan were kicked into action on the back of that goal and they came close twice in the space of three minutes.
Firstly, Nahomi Kawasumi side-footed past goalkeeper Hope Solo with only for, fortunately for the Americans, Christie Rampone to clear off the line, before Solo managed to tip Yuku Ogimi’s bullet header onto the bar after Kawasumi’s deep cross.
It was then the United States’ turn to hit the woodwork and the Japanese were lucky to get away with it as defender Azusa Iwashimizu headed against her own post - but this only served to invigorate Japan further.
Minutes later, Solo kept out Miyama with an outstretched hand but was well beaten when Ohno attempted a curler from the edge of the box, only to see is whistle past the wrong side of the post.
The Americans ended the first half on a flourish of their own, Shannon Box long-range effort went over the bar before Tobin Heath shot straight at Miho Fukumoto.
The second half started exactly the same way as the first. Again, eight minutes into the half and Lloyd had the ball in the back of the net. She picked up the ball on the halfway line, beat two Japanese defenders before rifling past the goalkeeper from 20 yards.
After going close in the first 45, Ogimi finally got the better of Solo. Rampone cleared off the line for a second time in this game after Homare Sawa’s effort but she could not clear the second attempt and the ball was diverted in by the attacker.
Lloyd was on a perfect hat-trick and she powered over a shot from the edge of the box that had Fukumoto scrambling.
And, up the other end of the pitch, Solo came up with stunning save to keep her side on course for gold as she palmed away substitute Mana Iwabuchi’s effort from eight yards as the Americans held on for a third straight gold medal in the women’s football.
Earlier on in the day, Canada beat France in the bronze medal match with a late goal from Diana Matheson.