Lloyd leads U.S. women past Japan to defend title and win Olympic soccer gold

Carli Lloyd of the U.S. (sitting center) celebrates with her teammates after scoring against Japan. (Reuters)

LONDON – The United States gained sweet revenge on Thursday for one of the most painful women’s soccer defeats, beating Japan2-1 to take the Olympic Games gold medal before a record crowd of 80,203 at Wembley Stadium.

A pair of outstanding goals from midfielder Carli Lloyd was enough to ensure the Americans avenged their defeat by the same opponent on penalty kicks in last year’s Women’s World Cup final. The U.S. still had to weather a late comeback by Japan, which applied constant pressure after Yuki Ogimi‘s 63rd-minute goal.

Lloyd missed the Americans’ first penalty in the shootout on that fateful night in Frankfurt, Germany, but the 30-year-old midfielder was the difference maker here, scoring with an opportunistic header after seven minutes, then smashing home the second just after halftime. Thursday’s victory was redemption for the U.S., but Lloyd downplayed that factor for her personally.

“The penalty shot wasn’t in my mind one bit – it happens,” said Lloyd, who scored the extra-time winner against Brazil in the 2008 Olympic final in Beijing. “To be honest, it was just another game. We obviously lost to them at the World Cup, but this was just another game and another opportunity to show that we’re the No. 1 team in the world.”

Read more: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics–sweet-revenge–carli-lloyd-leads-u-s–women-past-japan-to-win-olympic-soccer-gold.html

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