Scoring a hat trick in a World Cup final tends to earn you a number of plaudits. Carli Lloyd parlayed her three goals in the United States' 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday into the 2015 Women's World Cup Golden Ball, given to the best player of the tournament.
The U.S. women's national team tweeted the news:
Following the match, she kept the focus on her team, saying, per Nancy Armour of USA Today: "Unbelievable group. Collectively unbelievable. So happy and so proud."
Lloyd and the United States got off to a dream start in the final. The 32-year-old scored her third goal in the 16th minute of the game, which gave the USWNT a 4-0 lead. ESPN Stats & Info's Paul Carr provided the historical significance of her performance:
Lloyd's third goal will be the one fans remember most. She decided to attempt an audacious effort from the halfway line. A helpless Ayumi Kaihori tried and failed to knock the ball away, and it settled into the back of the net, as illustrated by the Huffington Post:
Another lasting image from the game was Lloyd handing the captain's armband over to Abby Wambach after the 35-year-old entered in the 79th minute. Wambach tried so hard to win a Women's World Cup in the past, and she ended her national team career on a high note, if this was in fact her last match.
The importance of the armband swap wasn't lost on Landon Donovan:
All in all, Lloyd's hat trick will enter the pantheon of all-time great moments in American sports history. An entire generation of female soccer players will strive to match her legacy, as this tweet from Bill Simmons will attest:
Lloyd also caught the attention of President Barack Obama:
ESPN's J.A. Adande joked that Lloyd should have her own White House aspirations after the final:
United States supporters won't soon forget Lloyd's contributions. Getting a hat trick by itself is impressive enough. To accomplish it in the first 16 minutes of a game is nearly impossible.
Hopefully she'll carry that form over to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where the Americans will enter as defending gold medalists.