1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

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1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
Event 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
After extra time
United States won 5–4 on penalties
Date10 July 1999
Venue Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, U.S.
Player of the Match Briana Scurry (United States)
Referee Nicole Petignat (Switzerland)

The final of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was an association football match that took place on 10 July 1999, to determine the winner of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. The host United States and China played to a scoreless draw following double golden goal extra time. After that, the United States won the title 5–4 with a penalties victory. [1]

1999 FIFA Womens World Cup 1999 edition of the FIFA Womens World Cup

The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was the third edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It was hosted as well as won by the United States and took place from 19 June to 10 July 1999 at eight venues across the country. The tournament was the most successful FIFA Women's World Cup in terms of attendance, television ratings, and public interest.

Association football Team field sport played between two teams of eleven players with spherical ball

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

United States womens national soccer team Womens national association football team representing the United States

The United States women's national soccer team (USWNT) represents the United States in international women's soccer. The team is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning four Women's World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, eight CONCACAF Gold Cups, and the gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games. It medaled in every World Cup and Olympic tournament in women's soccer history from 1991 to 2015, before being knocked out in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team is governed by United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF.


The match represented one of the most important events in the history of American athletics. [2] It was played before over 90,000 fans in what remains the largest crowd ever to watch a women's sporting event. [3] The well-known image of Brandi Chastain celebrating the winning spot kick that was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated became one of the defining images of women's athletics in the United States. [4]

Brandi Chastain American soccer player

Brandi Denise Chastain is an American retired soccer player, two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold-medalist, coach, and sports broadcaster. She played for the United States national team from 1988–2004. In her 192 caps on the team, she scored 30 goals playing primarily in the defender and midfielder positions. She scored a World Cup-winning penalty shootout goal against China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final.

<i>Sports Illustrated</i> American sports magazine

Sports Illustrated (SI) is an American sports magazine owned by Authentic Brands Group and published by Meredith Corporation. First published in August 1954, it has over 3 million subscribers and is read by 23 million people each week, including over 18 million men.


The match featured two powerhouses of women's association football. The United States had won the first FIFA World Cup championship in China and the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. China had won the silver at the 1996 Olympics and had defeated the United States in the final of the 1999 Algarve Cup. The teams featured two of the superstars of women's soccer, strikers Mia Hamm of the United States and Sun Wen of China. [5] [6]

Womens association football association football when played by women

Women's association football, usually known as women's football or women's soccer, is the most prominent team sport played by women around the globe. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally.

1991 FIFA Womens World Cup 1991 edition of the FIFA Womens World Cup

The 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup was the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It took place in Guangdong, China from 16 to 30 November 1991. FIFA, football's international governing body selected China as host nation as Guangdong had hosted a prototype world championship three years earlier, the 1988 FIFA Women's Invitation Tournament. Matches were played in the state capital, Guangzhou, as well as in Foshan, Jiangmen and Zhongshan. The competition was sponsored by Mars, Incorporated. With FIFA still reluctant to bestow their "World Cup" brand, the tournament was officially known as the 1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup.

The football tournament at the 1996 Summer Olympics started on 20 July and finished on 3 August. The women's competition was contested for the first time in Olympic history at these Games.

The United States was bidding to become the first team to win a world championship on home soil, something China had failed to do in 1991, as well as the first team to win multiple championships. China, meanwhile, was attempting to join the United States and Norway as World Cup champions. [5] [6]

Norway womens national football team womens national association football team representing Norway

The Norway women's national football team is controlled by the Football Association of Norway. The team is former European, World and Olympic champions and thus one of the most successful national teams. The team has had less success since the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

China were the first Asian national team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup Final. This was also the first final not involving a European team. [5]

Asian Football Confederation governing body of association football in Asia

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia. It has 47 member countries, mostly located on the Asian and Australian continent, but excludes the transcontinental countries with territory in both Europe and Asia – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey – which are instead members of UEFA. Three other states located geographically along the western fringe of Asia – Cyprus, Armenia and Israel – are also UEFA members. On the other hand, Australia, formerly in the OFC, joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, and the Oceanian island of Guam, a territory of the United States, is also a member of AFC, in addition to Northern Mariana Islands, one of the Two Commonwealths of the United States. Hong Kong and Macau, although not independent countries, are also members of the AFC.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Route to the final

The United States had qualified automatically as host nation. Accordingly, they elected to skip the 1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship, which served as the CONCACAF qualifier. They would not fail to win a CONCACAF championship again until 2010. China had qualified by winning their sixth straight AFC Women's Championship in 1997.[ citation needed ]

The 1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship was the first staging of the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, the international women's association football tournament for North America, Central America and Caribbean nations organized by CONCACAF. The final stage of the tournament took place at Etobicoke and Scarborough in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Canada took the sole automatic qualifying place for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup by finishing first. The runner-up, Mexico, qualified after defeating Argentina in a two-leg playoff in December 1998.

CONCACAF International sport governing body

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is one of FIFA's 6 continental governing bodies for association football. Its 41 members include nations and territories in North America, including Central America and the Caribbean. Three geographically South American entities are also members — Guyana, Suriname, and the French overseas department of French Guiana and Martinique. CONCACAF's primary functions are to organize competitions for national teams and clubs, and to conduct World Cup and Women's World Cup qualifying tournaments.

The 1997 AFC Women's Championship was a women's football tournament held in the province Guangdong, China between 5 and 14 December 1997. It was the 11th staging of the AFC Women's Championship. The 1997 AFC Women's Championship, consisting of eleven teams, served as the AFC's qualifying tournament for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Asia's three berths were given to the two finalists - China and Korea DPR - and the winner of the third place play-off, Japan.

Once at the finals, the United States reached the knockout stage by easily winning Group A. After trailing 2–1 at halftime, they advanced through the quarterfinals by defeating Germany 3–2. The United States then defeated Brazil 2–0 to reach the final. [7]

China reached the knockout stage by winning Group D. They shut out Russia in the quarterfinals, then easily defeated defending champion Norway 5–0 to reach the final.

United StatesRoundChina PR
OpponentResult Group stage OpponentResult
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 3–0Match 1Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2–1
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 7–1Match 2Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 7–0
Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea 3–0Match 3Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 3–1
Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg  United States 3300131+129
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 320158−36
Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea 310246−23
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 300318−70
Final standing
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR 3300122+109
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 320163+36
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 301237−41
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 3012110−91
OpponentResult Knockout stage OpponentResult
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 3–2 Quarterfinals Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 2–0
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 2–0 Semifinals Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 5–0



The match was played on 10 July 1999, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The United States and China played to a scoreless draw during regulaion and golden goal extra time. The United States won the title 5–4 on a penalty shootout. The win gave the United States its second world cup title. [1]

The game was a tepid affair with neither side getting many chances. Perhaps the best chance for either team to score came in extra time, when China's Fan Yunjie hit a header toward the post that was defended by Kristine Lilly. [8]

After both teams failed to score, the teams squared off for a shootout to decide the winners of the cup. China shot first, and Xie Huilin scored, only to be matched by the United States' Carla Overbeck. In the second round, Qiu Haiyan's goal was matched by Joy Fawcett.

Liu Ying was China's third-round shooter, but her shot was saved by United States goalkeeper Briana Scurry. Kristine Lilly then got a shot past Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hong to give the United States the advantage.

Zhang Ouying, Mia Hamm, and Sun Wen each converted their penalty opportunities, leaving the United States' Brandi Chastain with a shot to win the tournament. She put the ball past Gao, leading to an ecstatic celebration by the Americans, who had clinched the title on home soil. [9] [10] [11]


Kit left arm drkredhoop.png
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United States [13]
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body chinaPR99.png
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China PR [13]
GK1 Briana Scurry
RB14 Joy Fawcett
CB4 Carla Overbeck
CB20 Kate Sobrero
LB6 Brandi Chastain
DM10 Michelle Akers Yellow card.svg 74'Sub off.svg 91'
CM11 Julie Foudy
CM13 Kristine Lilly
RW9 Mia Hamm
CF12 Cindy Parlow Sub off.svg 57'
LW16 Tiffeny Milbrett Sub off.svg 115'
MF8 Shannon MacMillan Sub on.svg 57'
MF7 Sara Whalen Sub on.svg 91'
MF15 Tisha Venturini Sub on.svg 115'
Tony DiCicco
USA-CHN (women) 1999-07-10.svg
GK18 Gao Hong
RB11 Pu Wei Sub off.svg 59'
CB12 Wen Lirong
CB3 Fan Yunjie
LB14 Bai Jie
RM2 Wang Liping
CM10 Liu Ailing Yellow card.svg 80'
CM13 Liu Ying
LM6 Zhao Lihong Sub off.svg 114'
CF9 Sun Wen
CF8 Jin Yan Sub off.svg 119'
FW7 Zhang Ouying Yellow card.svg 70'Sub on.svg 59'
MF15 Qiu Haiyan Sub on.svg 114'
DF5 Xie Huilin Sub on.svg 119'
Ma Yuanan

Assistant referees:
Ghislaine Labbe (France)
Ana Pérez (Peru)
Fourth official:
Katriina Elovirta (Finland)


The United States became the first team to win two Women's World Cup titles. [14] Brandi Chastain's celebration, which ended with her removing her jersey and revealing her sports bra underneath, appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated , Time , and various newspapers the following day. [15] [16] The celebration was criticized for being allegedly disrespectful, unfeminine, or inappropriate, but has endured as one of the most iconic moments in women's sports history. [17] Chinese media protested Scurry's save on Liu Ying, accusing her of cheating for stepping ahead of the line before Liu kicked the ball; Scurry confirmed that she did intentionally step over the line, but stated that "everybody does it". [18] [19]

The final and tournament as a whole created greater interest in women's soccer, particularly the United States team, and broke attendance and television records for women's sports. [20] Its reported attendance of 90,185 set a new international record for a women's sporting event, [21] although the unofficial 1971 Women's World Cup final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City was seen by an estimated 110,000 people. [22] The final averaged 17.9 million viewers and peaked at 40 million on U.S. broadcast television, which remained unsurpassed until the 2014 men's World Cup and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final. [23]

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