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.
Event1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
After golden goal extra time
United States won 5–4 on penalties
Date10 July 1999 (1999-07-10)
VenueRose Bowl, Pasadena
RefereeNicole 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][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 in what remains the largest crowd ever to watch a women's sporting event.[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 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.[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. This was also the first final not involving a European team.[6]

Route to the final[edit]

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.

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) Host
Final standing
Pos Team Pld Pts
1  China PR 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 10 July 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.[10]

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.[11][12][13]


United States[14]
China PR[14]
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' Substituted off 91'
CM 11 Julie Foudy
CM 13 Kristine Lilly
RW 9 Mia Hamm
CF 12 Cindy Parlow Substituted off 57'
LW 16 Tiffeny Milbrett Substituted off 115'
MF 8 Shannon MacMillan Substituted in 57'
MF 7 Sara Whalen Substituted in 91'
MF 15 Tisha Venturini Substituted in 115'
Tony DiCicco
USA-CHN (women) 1999-07-10.svg
GK 18 Gao Hong
RB 11 Pu Wei Substituted off 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 Substituted off 114'
CF 9 Sun Wen (c)
CF 8 Jin Yan Substituted off 119'
FW 7 Zhang Ouying Yellow card 70' Substituted in 59'
MF 15 Qiu Haiyan Substituted in 114'
DF 5 Xie Huilin Substituted in 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.[15] 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.[16][17] 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.[18] 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".[19][20]

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.[21] Its reported attendance of 90,185 set a new international record for a women's sporting event,[22] although the unofficial 1971 Women's World Cup final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City was seen by an estimated 110,000 people.[23] 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.[24]


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

External links[edit]