VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — For a few moments over the past month, the Women's World Cup seemed to push aside the FIFA scandal that is simmering a half planet away.
Those moments came on the pitch: From upstart Cameroon crashing the party in the knockout stage, to England's fantastic run, to host Canada's tournament-opening victory on star Christine Sinclair's stoppage-time penalty kick.
And of course, Carli Lloyd's hat trick in a 5-2 victory for the United States in the final against Japan.
Despite the controversy over the artificial turf and questions about who would present the championship trophy, the Women's World Cup was a resounding success, setting records for attendance and TV ratings. The corruption case enveloping the sport's world governing body at least temporarily took a backseat to the Beautiful Game.
In many ways, FIFA can thank the Americans.
The second-ranked U.S. women started out the month-long tournament across Canada as one of the favorites, but there were questions along the way about a sputtering offense and U.S. coach Jill Ellis' tactics.