FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Lloyd's audacious halfway strike stuns the watching world

Football history is full of defining moments that prove impossible to forget, ultimately shape how the game is played in the future.

Antonin Panenka will always be known for the deft chipped penalty-kick technique which now bears his name. Johan Cruyff awed the world with his "Cruyff Turn”. Young players across globe attempt to pull off Cristiano Ronaldo's famous free-kick technique, stance and all.

USA midfielder Carli Lloyd created a moment in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Final that will always have a prominent place in the pantheon of Women’s World Cup history.

In the running to be named the Women’s World Cup’s Greatest Goal, Lloyd completed her remarkable first-half hat-trick in USA’s 5-2 final win with an audacious strike that outsmarted Japan goalkeeper Naomi Kaihori. Intercepting a misplayed pass in midfield by Japan, Lloyd turned with one touch, took another past Rumi Utsugi before looking up and launching a shot with her right foot as soon as the ball kissed the halfway line.

"It was split second," Lloyd told in an exclusive interview. "It was instinct. Every single game I play I’m always checking to see where the goalkeeper is. She was really off her line. When the ball left my foot I knew that I couldn’t have hit it any more perfect. It was like I was playing in the park with my friends and I just happened to go for it at that moment."

On another day, Japan goalkeeper Naomi Kaihori could have saved the shot. However, Lloyd’s audacity in the moment seemed to throw her off balance. Back-tracking and stumbling, Kaihori reached for the ball in desperation, but her efforts were in vain. Within 16 minutes of a World Cup final, USA had a 4-0 lead, an inconceivable situation at kick-off.

“I don’t think she was expecting it one bit,” Lloyd said. “A lot of goalkeepers these days play with their feet. They have a tendency to be off their line and up higher. I don’t think she thought it was going to be hit at all.”

Do you think Lloyd's goal is the best ever? users have until 6 May to view all ten of the shortlisted strikes and vote for the Women’s World Cup’s greatest.

What they said

"I think what’s cool about it is that everyone remembers that shot and that game. It’s almost become this icon, the ‘Carli Lloyd shot’, the midfield shot.

"Afterwards I was getting all sorts of messages from young kids, adults, boys and they were trying the ‘Carli Lloyd midfield shot’. It’s pretty cool because most people wouldn’t go for that and then I did it and it just gives people a different perspective that, if you don’t try it, you never know if you’re going to make it."
Carli Lloyd

See also

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