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The final of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was an association football match that took place in over 100 degree heat 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. After two scoreless overtimes, the United States won the match 5-4 with a penalties victory.[1]

1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
Event1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
After extra time
United States won 5–4 on penalties
Date10 July 1999
VenueRose Bowl, Pasadena, California, U.S.
Player of the MatchBriana Scurry (United States)
RefereeNicole Petignat (Switzerland)

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 finalEdit

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 10 July 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]


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

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


  1. ^ a b "Previous Tournaments". Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ "1999 U.s. Women's Soccer Team - Los Angeles Times". 13 July 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Women's World Cup". 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Brandi Chastain Cover - Sports Illustrated 07.19.99 Issue Contents - SI Vault". Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ JERE LONGMANPublished: 5 July 2003 (5 July 2003). "SOCCER; The Sports Bra Seen Round the World - New York Times". Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  6. ^ "WOMEN'S WORLD CUP; Politics Aside, for Chinese It's Only 'a Sporting Thing'". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Previous Tournaments". Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  8. ^ "CNN/SI - Women's World Cup - Closer Look: Wily Lilly uses her head - Sunday July 11, 1999 10:18 AM". 11 July 1999. Archived from the original on 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  9. ^ SETH FAISONPublished: 12 July 1999 (12 July 1999). "WOMEN'S WORLD CUP; The View From China: 'So Close, So Close' - New York Times". Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  10. ^ Reynolds, Charles (10 July 1999). "Football: America in love and having a ball - Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  11. ^ "BBC News - Why Women's World Cup champion Brandi Chastain bared her bra". Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  12. ^ Reynolds, Charles (11 July 1999). "Football: Brandi the toast of the hosts - Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  13. ^ a b DiCicco, Tony (May 2000). "How they won the cup" (PDF). United Soccer Coaches. p. 2. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
    1999 FIFA Women's World Cup – Final. ABC Sports (Television production). Pasadena, California: American Broadcasting Company. 10 July 1999.