1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final

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1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final
2018.06.17 Over the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA USA 0039 (42855669451) (cropped).jpg
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosted the final.
Event 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
After golden goal extra time
United States won 5–4 on penalties
DateJuly 10, 1999 (1999-07-10)
Venue Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Referee Nicole Petignat (Switzerland)

The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final was an association football match that took place on July 10, 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] [2]


The match represented one of the most important events in the history of American athletics. [3] It was played before over 90,000 fans. [4] 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. [5]


The match featured two powerhouses of women's association football. The United States had won the first Women's World Cup 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. [6] [7]

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. [6] [7]

China were the first Asian national team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup Final. [6] This was also the first Women's World Cup final not involving a European team.[ citation needed ]

Route to the final

The United States had qualified automatically as host nation. [8] 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 ]

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. [9]

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. [10]

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
1Flag of the United States.svg  United States (H)39
2Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 36
3Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea 33
4Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 30
Source: FIFA
(H) Hosts
Final standing
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 39
2Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 36
3Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 31
4Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 31
Source: FIFA
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 July 10, 1999, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The United States and China played to a scoreless draw during regulation 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. [11]

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. Despite Scurry coming well off her line (a violation that should have resulted in a re-kick for Liu), the save stood. 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. [12] [13] [14]


United States  Flag of the United States.svg0–0 (a.e.t./g.g.)Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Attendance: 90,185
Referee: Nicole Petignat (Switzerland)

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Kit right arm drkredhoop.png
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United States [15]
Kit left arm.svg
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China PR [15]
GK1 Briana Scurry
RB14 Joy Fawcett
CB4 Carla Overbeck (c)
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 (c)
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. [16] 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. [17] [18] The celebration was criticized for being disrespectful, unfeminine, or inappropriate, but has endured as one of the most iconic moments in women's sports history. [19] 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". [20] [21]

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. [22] Its reported attendance of 90,185 set a new international record for a women's sporting event, [23] although the unofficial 1971 Women's World Cup final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City was seen by an estimated 110,000 people. [24] This record was broken in 2022 when the second leg of the UEFA Women's Champions League quarterfinal between archrivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid drew 91,553 to Camp Nou in Barcelona. [25] 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. [26]

See also

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