USA, winners in 1991 and 1999, became the first nation to win the crown three times and avenged their loss to Japan on penalties in the 2011 final.
Captain Lloyd, 32, scored a 13-minute hat-trick in Vancouver, opening with her first two inside the opening five minutes and then a spectacular third after 16 minutes to complete her treble and leave her level with Germany’s Celia Sasic as the tournament’s top scorer when she spectacularly lobbed the Japanese goalkeeper from the halfway line.
Lauren Holiday had volleyed the third in the 14th minute and though Japan pulled one back through Yuki Ogimi (27) and another when Julie Johnston put through her own goal (52), Tobin Heath’s goal (54) quickly eased any doubts over the result.
Jill Ellis’ side thus avenged their defeat in the 2011 final between these sides, to the delight of the majority of the 53,341 crowd at BC Place.
“I was on a mission today,” said Lloyd, “It’s unreal, it just hasn’t sunk in yet.”
“I’m mentally fried. We knew that if we took it to Japan, they would get nervous on the pitch.”
“It’s been a long journey, my career. I’ve had a lot of people believe in me, in my corner, from day one,” added the midfielder, who turns 33 next week.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to this. Everything else comes second. But I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”
Coach Ellis said her only thought after the early goal-fest was: “Pinch me, wake me up!
“We’d talked about starting fast, and I just knew that the players could deliver.
“These players were born for the big moments,” she added. “I envisaged us winning the trophy. I think five (goals) is a dream come true.”