1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
Event 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
(a.e.t.). United States won 5–4 on penalties.
Date July 10, 1999
Venue Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, U.S.
Player of the Match Brianna Scurry (United States)
Referee Nicole Petignat (Switzerland)
Attendance 90,185
Weather Sunny

The final of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup 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. After extra time, the United States won the match with a 5-4 penalties victory.[1]

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][5]


The match featured two powerhouses of women's association football. The United States had won the first FIFA World Cup championship 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.

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.

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

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.

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 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
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 United States 3 3 0 0 13 1 +12 9
 Nigeria 3 2 0 1 5 8 −3 6
 North Korea 3 1 0 2 4 6 −2 3
 Denmark 3 0 0 3 1 8 −7 0
Final standing
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 China PR 3 3 0 0 12 2 +10 9
 Sweden 3 2 0 1 6 3 +3 6
 Australia 3 0 1 2 3 7 −4 1
 Ghana 3 0 1 2 1 10 −9 1
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 regular and extra time. The United States won the match 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]


July 10, 1999
12:50 p.m. (PDT)
United States  0–0 (a.e.t.)  China PR
5–4 Xie Huilin
Qiu Haiyan
Liu Ying
Zhang Ouying
Sun Wen
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Attendance: 90,185[12]
Referee: Nicole Petignat (Switzerland)
United States
China PR
GK 1Briana Scurry
DF 4Carla Overbeck
DF 6Brandi Chastain
DF 14Joy Fawcett
DF 20Kate Sobrero
MF 9Mia Hamm
MF 10Michelle Akers  74'  91'
MF 11Julie Foudy
MF 13Kristine Lilly
FW 12Cindy Parlow  57'
FW 16Tiffeny Milbrett  115'
MF 8Shannon MacMillan  57'
MF 7Sara Whalen  91'
MF 15Tisha Venturini  115'
Tony DiCicco
GK 18Gao Hong
DF 3Fan Yunjie
DF 12Wen Lirong
DF 14Bai Jie
MF 2Wang Liping
MF 6Zhao Lihong  114'
MF 10Liu Ailing  80'
MF 11Pu Wei  59'
MF 13Liu Ying
FW 8Jin Yan  119'
FW 9Sun Wen
FW 7Zhang Ouying  70'  59'
MF 15Qiu Haiyan  114'
DF 5Xie Huilin  119'
Ma Yuanan

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


  1. 1 2 "Previous Tournaments". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  2. "1999 U.s. Women's Soccer Team - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  3. "Women's World Cup". Expressmilwaukee.com. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  4. "Brandi Chastain Cover - Sports Illustrated 07.19.99 Issue Contents - SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  5. JERE LONGMANPublished: July 05, 2003 (2003-07-05). "SOCCER; The Sports Bra Seen Round the World - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  6. "WOMEN'S WORLD CUP; Politics Aside, for Chinese It's Only 'a Sporting Thing'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  7. "Previous Tournaments". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  8. "CNN/SI - Women's World Cup - Closer Look: Wily Lilly uses her head - Sunday July 11, 1999 10:18 AM". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 1999-07-11. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  9. SETH FAISONPublished: July 12, 1999 (1999-07-12). "WOMEN'S WORLD CUP; The View From China: 'So Close, So Close' - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  10. Reynolds, Charles (1999-07-10). "Football: America in love and having a ball - Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  11. "BBC News - Why Women's World Cup champion Brandi Chastain bared her bra". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  12. Reynolds, Charles (1999-07-11). "Football: Brandi the toast of the hosts - Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
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