5 more things you might not know about the World Cup final

USA Today

USA Today

On Sunday, the United States defeated Japan 5-2 to reclaim the World Cup championship, after 16 years.

Here are five oddities, curiosities or (possibly) interesting facts about the game and its participants:

 

1.

Japan gave up more goals in the first 16 minutes (four) than it had in its previous six games in the World Cup (three).

Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. (USA Today)

Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. (USA Today)

 

2.

Carli Lloyd is the second American woman to win the Golden Ball as the best player in a World Cup. The other? Carin Jennings (later Carin Jennings-Gabarra) in 1991.

Jennings is not as well-known as she should be, largely because her contributions as a pioneering member of the U.S. women’s team became overshadowed by the larger-than-life heroics of Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm.

She joined the U.S. team in July 1987, playing in the Americans’ 12th international match, “and she was a fixture in the lineup for nearly a decade,” according to this 2013 profile published by U.S. Soccer.

“Nobody was better on the ball or on the dribble than the blonde Southern Californian they called ‘crazy legs,'” according to the profile. “History confirms that her masterful showing in the first Women’s World Cup was a key factor in the Americans’ quick vault to the top of their sport.”

In that ’91 World Cup, she finished second in scoring (six goals) to Michelle Akers (10). She dominated in the Americans’ opener against Sweden, scoring twice in a 3-2 victory. Against Germany, she had a hat trick in the first 33 minutes of a 5-2 victory. (Sound familiar?)

Since 1993, she has been the women’s soccer coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.

 

golden ball

Carin Gabarra

Carin Gabarra

 

3.

The goals by Tobin Heath and Lauren Holiday were their first of the tournament.

4.

Among the 53,341 people in attendance at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver were ’99ers Briana Scurry, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, and Michelle Akers.

 

5.

Japan possessed the ball more than United States, 52 percent to 48 percent.

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