Portsmouth’s own Jill Ellis gave ‘rock star’ billing to Carli Lloyd after leading the United States to Women’s World Cup glory.
Captain Lloyd scored a hat-trick, completed with a strike from the halfway line barely 15 minutes into her side’s astonishing 5-2 win over Japan.
Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath also scored as delighted coach Ellis admitted her side found their best performance at the perfect time in Vancouver, Canada.
Ellis, who was raised in Cowplain but moved Stateside aged 15, fulfilled proud father John’s confident prediction to The News on Saturday that his daughter would deliver World Cup glory.
She said: ‘It’s just pure elation, I’m so, so proud of this team and these players and so happy for every little girl that dreams of this.’
Lloyd scored twice from set-pieces in the first five minutes and, after Holiday’s well-taken volley, made it 4-0 with her 60-yard masterpiece.
And Ellis added: ‘I called her (Lloyd) my ‘beast’ and she’s unbelievable, a rock star, I’m just so happy for her.’
Japan gave themselves a glimmer of hope as Yuki Ogimi’s classy finish and Julie Johnston’s own goal brought them back to 4-2, but Heath quickly snuffed out thoughts of a fightback.
It was Lloyd’s day though, and after also being named player of the tournament she claimed to be ‘speechless’.
She said: ‘This doesn’t feel real, it hasn’t sunk in.
‘I’m so unbelievably proud of every person on this team, we just made history and we’re a part of it.
‘(It’s an) unbelievable group – Christie Rampone, Abby, Hope (Solo), Boxxy (Shannon Boxx), the veterans, way down to (Alex) Morgan, Syd (Leroux), Morgan Brian... collectively unbelievable. So happy and so proud.
‘Jill believed in every single one of us. We had a gameplan, we started off (the tournament) a little bit slow but we finished stronger than ever and that’s the most important thing.’
Lloyd scored both the fastest goal and the first hat-trick in a Women’s World Cup final and added: ‘I was just on a mission to help my team win this game, I worked my butt off and everything came into play.’