Carli Lloyd wowed the soccer world in the Women’s World Cup Final by scoring a hat trick, the third goal of which was a bomb from the halfway line.
In the first 16 minutes of the match, Lloyd had essentially beaten Japan by herself, burying them with a ludicrous shot from midfield that sailed over Japan’s goalkeeper’s head to complete the hat trick.
SI’s Grant Wahl broke down the history of the shot in a new article, noting that Lloyd has been practicing it for 12 years now.
According to Wahl, in 2003, Lloyd was cut from the U.S. Under-21 team and began working with Australian coach James Galanis. One of Galanis’ drills for Lloyd was to practice shots from midfield, bouncing the ball over training sticks around the penalty box.
Lloyd was sceptical at first — “I’m thinking, ‘Who is going to shoot from midfield?'” she said — but she began trying the shot while playing on national teams as she got older.
Galanis told Wahl, “She missed every time. A couple of times it went just wide, and one time she completely shanked it. But [that shot] was always part of her arsenal. It was just a matter of picking the right moment to unleash it.”
Finally, of course, she nailed it on the biggest stage in the bigger performance of her career.
Galanis was in Greece watching the game and celebrated the goal, saying, “It wasn’t a fluke. It’s something we’ve worked on. She had the courage to do it.”
Lloyd seemed amazed, adding, “Never did I think I would score a goal from midfield in a World Cup final. But instincts kicked in.”
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