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Lloyd brace brings US soccer gold
08:06 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

Carli Lloyd was the hero on Thursday after scoring twice to secure the Olympic women's soccer gold medal for the United States.

Lloyd's brace gave the US a 2-1 win over Japan at Wembley, the result avenging their World Cup final defeat to the Asian giants.

Yuki Ogimi pulled a goal back for Japan, who had plenty of chances to equalise, but were denied by the woodwork as they failed to add the Olympic title to their world crown.

But they contributed to a superb spectacle and another brilliant advert for the women's game, as the Americans secured a hat-trick of Olympic titles.

The USA were playing in their fifth successive final, having lost just one of the previous four, while Japan were in their very first.

Both sides survived scares in the semis with the USA forced to come from behind three times to beat Canada in extra-time, while Japan weathered a second-half onslaught before beating France.

There was good support for each team among the 80,203 crowd - a record for a women's game at the Olympics - with alternate chants of "USA" and "Nippon".

But it was the American fans who were celebrating when Lloyd opened the scoring in the eighth minute.

It was the first time Japan had been behind all tournament and they responded superbly, going close twice in quick succession 10 minutes later.

Japan continued to attack but couldn't get a breakthrough.

Both sides threatened early in the second half before Lloyd scored a stunning second goal in the 54th minute.

The Japan defence backed off as the midfielder carried the ball before firing in a 18-metre shot that flew into the net.

But the world champions refused to buckle and, after bringing on Asuna Tanaka, halved the deficit in the 63rd minute.

A lovely move saw Homare Sawa's shot blocked by Rampone and the ball broke for Ogimi to poke home.

A sprawling Miho Fukumoto save prevented Rachel Buehler from extending the lead while there was a desperate scramble at the other end after they failed to deal with a free-kick.

Lloyd was agonisingly close to a hat-trick when she drove inches over and Japan substitute Mana Iwabuchi should have equalised when she robbed Rampone 20 yards out but shot too close to Solo, who produced a fine save.

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