Team USA got its revenge against a Japanese team that beat them in the 2011 World Cup, capturing women's soccer Olympic gold Thursday with a 2-1 victory spurred on by midfielder Carli Lloyd's two goals.
Team USA's victory came in front of a sellout crowd of more than 80,000 at London's storied Wembley Stadium on Thursday.
The final was a rematch of the 2011 World Cup, which saw Japan take the title on a 3-1 penalty-kick shootout after the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Although that title game, which the U.S. led with nine minutes left in regulation and with three minutes left in extra time, was technically considered a draw, that didn't lessen the sting for Team USA.
Team USA started the scoring early, with Lloyd's header off a feed from Alex Morgan in the eighth minute making the score 1-0. The goal was Lloyd's third of the Olympics and Team USA's 15th overall, setting a new Olympic record.
The assist was also Morgan's fifth of the London games.
About 10 minutes later, Japan upped the pressure, attacking the goal twice but coming up empty, thanks to a great effort by American goalie Hope Solo on the second opportunity, a header from Yuki Ogimi that ultimately hit the crossbar.
Japan's Shinobu Ohno had two good chances later in the first half, a header off the crossbar in the 33rd minute and a shot just wide of the goal a few minutes later, as they kept up the aggressive play.
But they couldn't ultimately find the goal, with the match heading into the break with a 1-0 score despite Japan more or less controlling the last 30 minutes of the first half.
Lloyd added a second goal -- her fourth of the London Games -- beating an extended Miho Fukumoto to put it in the far corner of the goal in the 54th minute of the match and give USA a 2-0 lead.
Ogimi tapped the ball in for a goal in the 63rd minute, cutting the score to 2-1, after the American's defense failed to clear the ball.
Japan came close again in the 73rd minute, as USA again struggled to clear the ball. With the ball bouncing around in front of the goal, play was stopped on a penalty, giving the Americans a break.
Solo came up big down the stretch for USA, making several spectacular saves to help preserve the win.
Team USA had work overtime to even get to London and the final. In it's semifinal against Canada on Monday, the U.S. bounced back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before finally taking the game in extra time, 4-3, on a header from Alex Morgan.
The win kept going a U.S. streak of appearing in every Olympic women's soccer final since the sport was added in 1996. Overall, Team USA has won three golds and a silver in four ensuring tournaments. In 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing, the team beat Brazil by a single goal each time to win gold.
Japan prevented that matchup from happening for the third-straight Olympics, knocking Brazil out in the quarterfinals this year and then beating France in the semifinal to advance to the gold medal game.
The Americans had some good mojo working for them going into the final. No World Cup champion had ever won the Olympics the next year, a fact that still holds true with Japan's loss. In addition, each time the U.S. has been knocked out of the World Cup since 1995, they have met that team in the Olympics a year later. With Thursday's win, they've now exacted their revenge every time, including three times in the final.
In the bronze medal game earlier on Thursday, midfielder Diana Matheson scored an injury-time winner to give Canada a 1-0 victory over France. That bronze medal represents the first team sport medal for Canada since 1936.