CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in VANCOUVER: Abby Wambach has described the United States’ 5-2 thrashing of Japan to win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup as “surreal.”

The star striker was watching from the substitute bench as her teammates raced to a 4-0 lead within 15 minutes, with Carli Lloyd scoring three.

Wambach, who had never won a World Cup in her illustrious career, said after the game that the game was nothing like she could have predicted.

“I would never have imagined that the final would go as wildly dramatically smoothly as it just did for us” she said. “Seven goals in the final is a little bit outrageous in my opinion. But it was just like in the first 15 minutes it seemed surreal, it seemed fake.

“I kept asking Kelly O’Hara ‘am I actually dead? I think I’ve died and this is what my heaven looks like.’ I was like ‘seriously am I alive?’ I was literally asking her because I could not put together what was going on and Carli Lloyd just kept scoring goals and we kept getting chances and they kept going in and of course at half-time what do you say to a team that buries almost every chance that they get?

Leading scorer

“You just say ‘hey, look it’s 0-0. You can’t just loosen any of the reigns up because that’s when they can creep in’. We didn’t let them creep in even though they got a second goal, our team stayed strong and I’m just proud.”

The USA’s leading scorer with 183 goals put her team’s success down to the coaching of Jill Ellis and her staff – who only came on board last year – and paid tribute to their tactics which resulted in a record third World Cup.

Wambach said: “It’s because they made impeccable decisions on substitutions, on player assessments and I’m just proud I’m on the end of this win.”

The victory was certainly sweet for Wambach who had spoken before about her pain of missing out on the trophy four years ago in Germany. She has two Olympic golds to her name along with a FIFA player of the year award but now has the title of world champion too, having appeared as a 79th minute substitute.

But it was Lloyd who was star of the show in Canada and the forward duly received the Golden Ball award for Player of the Tournament.

Teammate Hope Solo won the goalkeeping award of the Golden Glove, while there was a prize for the hosts as Kadeisha Buchanan won the young player of tournament award.

Germany’s Celia Sasic claimed the tournament’s Golden Boot for her six goals in 553 minutes.