USA Vs. Japan, 2012 Olympics: Final Score, USWNT Holds On For 2-1 Win To Capture Gold Medal

It's been just over a year since the United States fell to Japan on penalties in the World Cup final, but they have captured their revenge. For the third consecutive Olympic games, the USWNT have grabbed a gold medal in women's soccer. Japan was excellent for most of the match, but two great goals by the United States earned the Americans a 2-1 victory.

Carli Lloyd was the hero for the USWNT, just like she was in the gold medal match in 2008. Her opening goal came in the 8th minute on an excellent cross by Alex Morgan. The floating ball to the back post appeared to be intended for Abby Wambach, but Lloyd came out of nowhere with a terrific late run into the box and a header into the back of the net to give her team the lead.

Japan had a couple of excellent opportunities to equalize shortly afterwards, but couldn't capitalize. Christie Rampone had to make a late clearance off the line on a shot by Nahomi Kawasumi in the 17th minute, which was followed up less than a minute later by a brilliant Hope Solo save onto the crossbar to deny Yuki Ogimi.

In the 25th minute, Japan had their first of two penalty shots. Tobin Heath stuck out her arm and clearly handled the ball following a free kick, but no penalty was given. Early in the second half, an even more obvious penalty offense was committed by Rachel Buehler, who rugby tackled Saki Kumagai. Incredibly, no penalty was given. Buehler was shaky throughout the match, and was eventually replaced by Becky Sauerbrunn in the 80th minute.

Despite Japan's numerous chances and penalty shouts the United States scored two goals before Japan could manage one. Once again, the finish came from Lloyd. Her first goal was impressive, but her second was truly spectacular and one of the best goals of the tournament. She dribbled her way through multiple defenders and towards the edge of the penalty area, then hit a rocket into the side of the net at the far post.

Carli_medium_medium

Eventually, Japan would stop merely coming close to scoring and finally punched the ball into the back of the net. They couldn't do it in a straight-forward manner, however, as the United States nearly dodged another bullet in the 63rd minute. After multiple blocks and a mad scramble, Yuki Ogimi eventually poked home a finish to cut the United States lead and bring Japan into the match.

The United States did not deal with their one-goal lead well in the first half, but Ogimi's goal seemed to be a bit of a wake-up call, and the Americans defended much better in the second half than they did in the first. Japan did have one great opportunity to equalize, but unlike their other chances, it came as the product of a gift and not their spectacular build-up play.

Rampone committed a terrible giveaway in her own end in the 83rd minute, allowing substitute Asuna Tanaka to get through on goal. She attempted to curl a shot around Solo, but the USWNT goalkeeper made a spectacular diving save to preserve the lead.

Solo2_medium

That would be the last great chance that Japan would produce in the match. Japan played excellent football throughout the Olympic final, but Solo's heroics and a little bit of luck kept the United States from conceding more than once.

For the fourth time, the United States women's soccer team are gold medalists at the Olympics.

You can find all of our previous coverage of the final in our USA Vs. Japan, London 2012 Olympics StoryStream. For more on the entire world of soccer, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.