US players celebrate with Carli Lloyd after the first of her two goals vs. Japan.
We did it
USA players celebrate after defeating Japan 2-1 during the women's soccer gold medal match in the 2012 London Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.
Keep Hope alive
Solo was at center of the biggest scrum, fitting for a player who was so crucial to the victory. The goalie gets a lot of flak for her off-field pursuits, including ''Dancing With the Stars'' and her candid comments on Twitter, but she made several plays Thursday that showed again that she's the best in the world at what she does.
I kissed a girl
USA midfielder Carli Lloyd (left) and USA goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrate.
I kissed a gold and I liked it
USA forward Alex Morgan celebrates with the gold.
Jump for gold
The Americans are again on top of the women's soccer world.
USA forward Alex Morgan and Team USA celebrates wearing their gold medals.
At the final whistle, there was a group-hug celebration that unleashed a year of bottled-up frustration. Many of the players paraded with the flag and put on the celebratory T-shirts.
Me? No, you da woman
USA goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrates with an American flag and T-shirts that read "Greatness has been found." Not everyone is a fan of the shirts.
Time to shine
''The Olympics is a perfect platform in terms of what life is,'' Wambach said. ''You cannot win at everything you attempt in life. You have to be willing to fail and fall flat on your face in order to get glory."
The win provides redemption for Abby Wambach and other veterans. 'We came so close to winning the World Cup,'' Wambach said. ''We knew if we put our energy and belief in each other into this year, we could pull off something special.''
Save the day
USA goalkeeper Hope Solo makes a couple of great saves against Japan, including one in the 83rd minute that preserved the 2-1 lead.
What a battle
Before 80,203 fans at Wembley Stadium, an Olympic record for a women's soccer game, the teams put on a back-and-forth, don't-turn-your-head soccer showcase, proving again that these are the two premier teams in the world.
Wambach, the outspoken co-captain who missed the Beijing Games with a broken leg, was always the player most impassioned about the mission to get the Americans back atop the podium.
Carli strikes again
The United States' Carli Lloyd celebrates after scoring one of her two goals against Japan goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto.
Carli Lloyd is congratulated by teammates after scoring.
“It was … ” Carli Lloyd said, her voice trailing off as she searched for the words that might some up the moment. “I can’t describe it.”
Watching Carli Lloyd deliver Thursday’s gold-medal winning goal felt like being transported back four years ago, when she did the same exact thing.
Outta our way
Alex Morgan and the Americans successfully hurdle Saki Kumagai and Japan.
Hair she goes
USA forward Alex Morgan moves the ball up the field in the second half.
If you ask who they're cheering for, it certainly is.
“I was hoping to make an impact on the game," Hope Solo said. "In my experience, there’s always one moment in a tournament when you can make an impact. After five games, it finally came.”
Fans of Team USA filled Wembley Stadium. The U.S.-Japan final has drawn a crowd of 80,203, the largest ever to see a women's soccer game at the Olympics. That tops the 76,481 for final game at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, when women's soccer made its debut.
Don't blink or you'll miss it
France's Eugenie Le Sommer misses on a header, leaving Canada's Lauren Sesselmann, right, to take he blow Thursday during the bronze-medal soccer game won by Canada 1-0. MORE: Who's leading the Olympic medal count?
Diana Matheson of Canada is challenged by Gaetane Thiney of France during the women's bronze-medal contest Thursday in Coventry, England. Matheson scored in injury time to earn a 1-0 victory and secure the medal.
Walking away happy
Canada's Lauren Sesselmann, center, celebrates with teammates after winning their bronze medal over France 1-0 in Coventry, England. MORE: Who's leading the Olympic medal count?
In the air
Canada's Desiree Scott, left, applies pressure as Louisa Necib of France attempts to control the ball during the women's bronze medal game Thursday.
Down and out
Melissa Tancredi of Canada kneels over her teammate after goalkeeper Erin McLeod had the wind knocked out of her while making a save at City of Coventry Stadium. MORE: Who's leading the Olympic medal count?