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1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final

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1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosted the final.
Event1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
After golden goal extra time
United States won 5–4 on penalties
DateJuly 10, 1999 (1999-07-10)
VenueRose Bowl, Pasadena
RefereeNicole 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 States Round China PR
Opponent Result Group stage Opponent Result
 Denmark 3–0 Match 1  Sweden 2–1
 Nigeria 7–1 Match 2  Ghana 7–0
 North Korea 3–0 Match 3  Australia 3–1
Pos Team Pld Pts
1  United States (H) 3 9
2  Nigeria 3 6
3  North Korea 3 3
4  Denmark 3 0
Source: FIFA
(H) Hosts
Final standing
Pos Team Pld Pts
1  China 3 9
2  Sweden 3 6
3  Australia 3 1
4  Ghana 3 1
Source: FIFA
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 Germany 3–2 Quarterfinals  Russia 2–0
 Brazil 2–0 Semifinals  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 0–0 (a.e.t.) China
Attendance: 90,185
United States[15]
China PR[15]
GK 1 Briana Scurry
RB 14 Joy Fawcett
CB 4 Carla Overbeck (c)
CB 20 Kate Sobrero
LB 6 Brandi Chastain
DM 10 Michelle Akers Yellow card 74' downward-facing red arrow 91'
CM 11 Julie Foudy
CM 13 Kristine Lilly
RW 9 Mia Hamm
CF 12 Cindy Parlow downward-facing red arrow 57'
LW 16 Tiffeny Milbrett downward-facing red arrow 115'
MF 8 Shannon MacMillan upward-facing green arrow 57'
MF 7 Sara Whalen upward-facing green arrow 91'
MF 15 Tisha Venturini upward-facing green arrow 115'
Tony DiCicco
GK 18 Gao Hong
RB 11 Pu Wei downward-facing red arrow 59'
CB 12 Wen Lirong
CB 3 Fan Yunjie
LB 14 Bai Jie
RM 2 Wang Liping
CM 10 Liu Ailing Yellow card 80'
CM 13 Liu Ying
LM 6 Zhao Lihong downward-facing red arrow 114'
CF 9 Sun Wen (c)
CF 8 Jin Yan downward-facing red arrow 119'
FW 7 Zhang Ouying Yellow card 70' upward-facing green arrow 59'
MF 15 Qiu Haiyan upward-facing green arrow 114'
DF 5 Xie Huilin upward-facing green arrow 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



  1. ^ a b "Previous Tournaments". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on August 8, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Reynolds, Charles (July 11, 1999). "Football: Brandi the toast of the hosts - Sport". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 1, 2022. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  3. ^ "1999 U.S. Women's Soccer Team". Los Angeles Times. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  4. ^ "Women's World Cup". Milwaukee Express. July 11, 2011. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Longman, Jere (July 5, 2003). "The Sports Bra Seen Round the World". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Politics Aside, for Chinese It's Only 'a Sporting Thing'". The New York Times. July 7, 1999. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Longman, Jere (May 20, 1999). "SOCCER; 1999 Women's World Cup: Beautiful Game Takes Flight". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Women's 1999 World Cup Soccer". Courier News. June 20, 1999. p. 50. Retrieved December 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  9. ^ "Previous Tournaments". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  10. ^ "BBC News | Asia-Pacific | China goes football mad". news.bbc.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Women's World Cup – Closer Look: Wily Lilly uses her head". Sports Illustrated. July 11, 1999. Archived from the original on October 1, 2004. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  12. ^ Faison, Seth (July 12, 1999). "The View From China: 'So Close, So Close'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  13. ^ Reynolds, Charles (July 10, 1999). "Football: America in love and having a ball - Sport". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 1, 2022. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Gee, Alison (July 13, 2014). "Why Women's World Cup champion Brandi Chastain bared her bra". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on March 31, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  15. ^ a b DiCicco, Tony (May 2000). "How they won the cup" (PDF). unitedsoccercoaches.org. United Soccer Coaches. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 6, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
    1999 FIFA Women's World Cup – Final. ABC Sports (Television production). Pasadena, California: American Broadcasting Company. July 10, 1999.
  16. ^ Jones, Grahame L. (July 11, 1999). "U.S. Women Recapture the World Cup". Los Angeles Times. p. B1. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  17. ^ Longman, Jere (July 5, 2003). "The Sports Bra Seen Round the World". The New York Times. p. D1. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  18. ^ Hersh, Philip (July 14, 2009). "Big event, wide ripples". Chicago Tribune. p. 6. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  19. ^ Glendenning, Garry (June 20, 2019). "Women's World Cup game-changing moments No 4: Brandi Chastain in 1999". The Guardian. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  20. ^ Farley, Maggie (July 15, 1999). "Crossing the line". Los Angeles Times. p. D1. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  21. ^ Vecesy, George (August 8, 1999). "Backtalk: When Is It Gamesmanship, and When Is It Cheating?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  22. ^ Armour, Nancy (July 15, 2011). "Soccer squad grabs nation's attention like it did in 1999". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  23. ^ Longman, Jere (July 11, 1999). "Refusing to Wilt, U.S. Wins Soccer Title". The New yYork Times. p. A1. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  24. ^ Wilson, Bill (December 7, 2018). "Mexico 1971: When women's football hit the big time". BBC News. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  25. ^ Marsden, Sam; Llorents, Moisés (March 30, 2022). "Barcelona-Real Madrid Women's Champions League clash breaks attendance world record". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  26. ^ Carter, Bill (June 23, 2014). "Bigger Than Baseball: 25 Million Watch U.S.-Portugal World Cup Match". The New York Times. p. B14. Retrieved June 11, 2019.