1999 FIFA Women's World Cup (found footage of international football matches; 1999)

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Logo for the tournament.

Status: Partially Found

The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was the third FIFA-sanctioned global women's football tournament. Occurring from 19th June to 10th July in the United States, the Final saw the hosts defeat China 5-4 on penalties to claim its second World Cup.


For the third FIFA Women's World Cup, the United States was selected as host.[1][2][3][4] Aside from competing bids from Australia and Chile being withdrawn, another factor supporting US hosting involved its organisation of the 1994 Men's World Cup and the hype generated from the 1996 Summer Olympics' Women's Football Tournament.[2][1] Whereas the 1995 edition suffered somewhat from reduced attendances and overall media coverage, the opposite applied for the 1999 World Cup.[2][3] Harnessing a $30 million budget, the organisers opted to market the World Cup towards a youth audience, primarily young girls.[2][3] With the tournament slogan "This is my game. This is my future. Watch me play.", as well as backing from big-name brands like Budweiser and Adidas, ticket sales quickly surpassed the 1995 edition's overall total of around 113,000.[5][2][3]

Another advantage the 1999 World Cup received over 1995 was that big stadiums such as the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, and the Giants Stadium would host some of the games.[3][2][5] The Final alone saw 90,185 at the Rose Bowl; while this is not quite the largest-attended women's sporting event, with the unofficial 1971 Women's World Cup Final drawing 110,000, it is the highest-attended FIFA-sanctioned women's event.[6][2][3][5] Overall, the tournament sold 1.194 million tickets, achieving an average attendance of around 37,319 per game.[3] It is therefore considered one of women's football's greatest ever events, and the peak of US women's soccer in particular.[3][5]

Unlike in 1995, where only the US' games were televised in America, a significantly larger deal was reached for 1999.[7][4][2][3] ABC and ESPN agreed to televise all 32 tournament games combined, in a deal stated to have been considerably cheaper than for NFL television rights.[7][4][2][3] Most matches would air on ESPN channels, with ESPN broadcasting eight matches, and ESPN2 21.[4][7][3] Initially, all bar two matches would be aired live, though once the schedule was finished, six would be broadcast on tape delay.[7][4] ABC aired only three games, though said three matches were of considerable importance: these included the United States' opening match, one of the Semi-Finals, and the Final itself.[7][4] The matches aired as a doubleheader with Major League Soccer; considering the importance of the television deal, it was agreed that the order of each doubleheader would reflect television and marketing needs.[4] Other television deals included Eurosport broadcasting at least half the matches across 55 nations, ESPN relaying its coverage to over 70, as well as national television stations from various European countries airing their own coverage.[8][9]

For 1999, the number of competing teams increased by four to 16, with team sizes expanded to 22.[10][3][4] Teams would be split into four groups of four, with the top two qualifying for the Knockout stages.[10][4] Qualifying for the World Cup saw Nigeria and Ghana enter after becoming the finalists of the 1998 CAF Women's Championship.[11] Nigeria defeated Ghana 2-0 to claim its third title.[11] China and North Korea reached the Final of the 1997 AFC Women's Championship, with China winning the encounter 2-0 for its sixth title.[12] Japan joined them in the World Cup after beating Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) 2-0 in the Third Place Playoff.[12]

16 European sides were split into four Class A qualifying groups.[13] Sweden, Italy, Norway, and Denmark topped their groups and qualified directly.[13] In the subsequent playoffs Russia defeated Finland 4-2 on aggregate while Germany beat Ukraine 6-1.[13] In the 1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship, Canada won the Final against Mexico 1-0 for its first title and subsequently achieved World Cup qualification.[14] In an expanded 1998 OFC Women's Championship, Australia beat New Zealand 3-1 to win the cup and become the sole OFC representative at the tournament.[15] Finally, Brazil beat Argentina 7-1 in the 1998 Sudamericano Femenino to earn its third consecutive title and directly qualify.[16] Mexico and Argentina fought in a playoff for the final World Cup spot, Mexico beating Argentina 6-3 on aggregate to qualify.[16]

The Tournament

The World Cup began with United States' opening game against Denmark on 19th June.[3][10] The hosts started strongly when, after 17 minutes, Mariel Hamm retrieved the ball from the right side of Denmark's box and scored via a chip over the Danish goalkeeper.[10] Second-half goals from Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly sealed a 3-0 victory.[3][10] Also in Group A, Nigeria edged out North Korea 2-1, Rita Nwadike cancelling out the Asian side's equaliser.[3][10] Nigeria's fortunes declined a match later against the United States, however. Despite stunning the hosts thanks to a 2nd-minute goal from Nkiru Okosieme, an own goal from Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine allowed the US to strike back, eventually winning 7-1.[10][3] North Korea meanwhile recovered from their early setback by defeating Denmark 3-1.[10][3] North Korea were now ahead of Nigeria on goal difference and needed simply to match the African team's result to qualify.[3] However, despite holding the US to a goalless first-half, the team was unable to recover once Shannon MacMillan scored, soon followed by two Tisha Venturini goals.[3][10] This enabled Nigeria to reach the Knockout stages, doing so thanks to scoring in both halves to beat Denmark 2-0.[3][10]

Group B, featuring reigning European champions Germany, and reigning South American champions Brazil, was considered the group of death.[17][3] Mexico was decidedly the underdogs in the group, and despite achieving an early equaliser, were trounced 7-1 by Brazil.[10][3] This included two hattricks from Pretinha and Sissi.[10][3] Germany's opening game was against Italy, where Patrizia Panico managed to pull a surprise by taking the lead for the Italians via a header after 36 minutes.[18][10][3] Italy were holding strong in the second, but a poorly-timed challenge from Roberta Stefanelli on Birgit Prinz conceded a penalty, allowing Bettina Wiegmann to equalise.[18][10][3] The two European sides therefore shared a 1-1 draw.[18][10][3] Brazil's strong start continued thanks to a goal from Sissi in both halves, giving them a 2-0 win over Italy.[10][3] Germany meanwhile thrashed Mexico 6-0, Inka Grings scoring a hattrick in that game.[10][3] The continental champions then duelled, with Brazil up 2-1 after 45 minutes.[10] However, another penalty from Weigmann, followed up by a strike from Steffi Jones, gave the Germans a 3-2 lead.[10][3] It seemed the European champions would claim victory only for a last-minute header from Maycon to level proceedings and give the Brazilians the top spot in the group.[3][10] The result meant Italy were out, despite beating Mexico 2-0.[3][10]

In Group C, Japan and Canada played to a 1-1 draw, Nami Otake's securing an equaliser for the Asian side after 64 minutes.[10][3] Meanwhile, 1995 World Cup winners Norway began their title defence against World Cup newcomers Russia.[3][10] The Norwegians generally controlled proceedings despite Galina Komarova pulling a goal back for Russia, the result ending 2-1 to Norway.[10][3] The rest of the games saw Norway and Russia dominate; while Charmaine Hooper gave Canada an equaliser against Norway, it was not enough to withstand the defending champions' onslaught, Norway dominating the second-half in particular to win 7-1.[3][10] Meanwhile, Russia beat Japan 5-0, four of those goals also coming from the second-half.[10] Russia again scored four goals in the second interval to beat Canada 4-1.[3][10] Finally, a Hege Riise penalty and a Hiromi Isozaki own goal contributed towards Norway defeating Japan 4-0.[3][10]

Group D saw a grudge match between China and Sweden, who knocked the other out during their host runs in 1991 and 1995 respectively.[19] Sweden gained the upper hand after only two minutes thanks to Kristin Bengtsson, but China's Jin Yan levelled proceedings 17 minutes in.[19][3][10] A strike from Liu Ailing after 69 minutes gave China a 2-1 win.[19][3][10] Australia and Ghana played to a 1-1 draw, Ghana's Nana Gyamfuah equalising just two minutes after Australia's Julie Murray.[10][3] Despite Murray pulling one back against Sweden a game later, it was not enough for the European side to control proceedings, winning 3-1.[10][3] Meanwhile, China thrashed Ghana 7-0, Sun Wen having scored a hattrick.[10][3] Sun Wen also scored two more goals in her team's 3-1 victory against Australia.[10][3] Finally, Victoria Svensson scored both goals in Sweden's 2-0 win over Ghana.[10][3] However, key defender Hanna Ljungberg suffered an injury, taking her out of the tournament.[3]

As originally scheduled, the Quarter-Finals would occur as doubleheaders.[4] China faced Russia, followed by Norway competing against Sweden at the Spartan Stadium on 30th June.[20][10] China outmatched Russia, the latter unable to even capitalise on chances until added time commenced.[20][3] Pu Wei and Jin Yan both struck to give China a 2-0 win.[20][3][10] Following a goalless first-half, Ann Aarønes scored a header after 51 minutes to put Norway ahead.[21][3][10] Seven minutes later, Marianne Pettersen doubled their lead, and another Riise penalty further condemned Sweden.[21][3][10] Nevertheless, Sweden's Malin Moström scored a consolation goal in added time, losing the game 3-1.[21][10][3]

The United States then faced Germany at the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium on 1st June.[22][10] The hosts suffered a disastrous start when Brandi Chastain attempted to backpass to goalkeeper Briana Scurry when the latter insisted on retrieving it herself, resulting in the ball moving into the US net to hand Germany a free 1-0 lead.[22][3][10] Tiffeny Milbrett however capitalised when a blocked strike reached her in the German box, providing the equaliser after 17 minutes.[22][10] Into stoppage time, Wiegmann put Germany back in front with a 22-yard strike.[22][10][3] However, not long after the second-half began, Chastain recovered from her earlier faux pas by converting Hamm's corner kick to make it 2-2.[22][3][10] Another corner kick after 66 minutes saw Joy Fawcett score a header, putting the hosts 3-2 in front.[22][3][10] The US then held on from there to claim a narrow victory.[22][3][10] The Brazil-Nigeria game was even closer, although half-time was a different story as two goals from Cidinha and another from Nenê put the Brazilians 3-0 ahead.[23][3][10] However, Nigeria found a second wind in the second-half, and topped off by a 14-yard strike from Nkechi Egbe, were now level after 90 minutes.[23][10][3] Extra-time was played, where Sissi made history by becoming the first player to score a Golden Goal at the Women's World Cup, doing so after 114 minutes via a 22-yard free kick.[23][3][10]

Brazil, therefore, advanced to play United States at the Stanford Stadium.[24][3][10] Extra pressure was put on the hosts, as the match would occur on Independence Day.[3][24] The US stood tall, however, starting strongly after five minutes when Cynthia Parlow scored a header.[24][3][10] The game was notable for two head collisions for the US' Michelle Akers; despite concerns the blows would force her out of the game, Akers continued onwards.[24] Brazil attempted a comeback in the second half, Scurry saving three good chances to level the game.[24][3] However, Brazil's onslaught came unstuck after they conceded a penalty on Hamm 80 minutes in.[24][3][10] Akers stepped up to make it 2-0, which was enough for the US to advance to their second Final.[24][3][10] Post-match, Akers rubbished concerns for her health and claimed "Every second, every drop of blood, every scrape, everything has been worth it... up to this point."[24] Meanwhile, Norway's title defence ended in disastrous fashion; China's Sun Wen and Liu Ailing twice scored, with Fan Yunjie adding another.[25][3][10] Norway did not provide any response, enabling China to easily advance and handing the Norwegians their joint-heaviest ever defeat.[25][3][10]

Brazil and Norway attempted to redeem themselves in the Third-Place Playoff.[26][10] The game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, with Norway noted to have provided most goalscoring opportunities.[26][10] Because the Final needed to commence within a strict television schedule, penalties was immediately played.[26] Brazil was initially on the back foot after Pretinha missed her opening penalty.[26][10] However, Brazil converted their remaining shots, while Silje Jørgensen and Aarønes missed theirs.[26][10] Formiga successfully converted Brazil's final penalty to win 5-4.[26][10] The Final itself commenced on 10th July in front of 90,185 at the Rose Bowl, with a US soccer record average television audience of around 17.9 million viewers, 40 million reported overall.[27][17][3][10] Neither side broke the deadlock 90 minutes in, though China did nearly prevail in scoring a Golden Goal a few times in extra-time.[27][3] However, penalties were again required to determine a winner. After China and the US both scored their first two penalties, Liu Ying stepped up for China's third.[28][27][3][10] In a somewhat controversial moment, Scurry stepped over the goal line before proceeding to save the attempt.[28][27][10][3] While this was criticised by some as cheating, the officials accepted the move and Scurry insisted many other goalkeepers have utilised similar tactics.[28]

The US' Lilly and Hamm, as well as China's Zhang Ouying and Sun Wen, all converted their shots.[27][3][10] Chastain now had the opportunity to give the US their second crown, where a miss would result in Sudden Death being played.[27][3][10] Chastain calmly converted to win 5-4; in celebration, she famously pulled her shirt off to reveal her sports bra, considered one of the most iconic moments in women's sporting history.[29][27][3][10] It has since been replicated in other large women's sports events, most notably Chloe Kelly's celebration for scoring England's winning goal against Germany at the Euro 2022 Final.[30]


All 32 games in the tournament were televised by ABC and ESPN, with many others were also broadcast by Eurosport.[7][4][2][8] While this gives the 1999 FIFA World Cup a larger chance of completely resurfacing compared to 1991 or 1995, a large number of match broadcasts remain missing. The United States' full campaign was almost completely uploaded to YouTube by 2015, courtesy of WoSoNostalgia. However, the coverage of the team's match against North Korea was missing until July 2020, when YouTuber Rachel in Oklahoma uploaded both halves of the game. Two of Canada's group games have also resurfaced, though the team's encounter with Sweden remains lost. The first 24 minutes of the China-Norway Semi-Final was uploaded to YouTube by WoSoNostalgia, but the full game has yet to be recovered. Other match footage can be found in a FIFA documentary, as well as a 2003 US Soccer video using highlights of the tournament to help train referees.



The 1999 FIFA World Cup Final.

FIFA's 1999 World Cup documentary.

United States vs Denmark.

United States vs Nigeria.

United States vs North Korea (1/2).

United States vs North Korea (2/2).

Canada vs Norway.

Canada vs Russia.

United States vs Germany.

United States vs Brazil.

The first 24 minutes of China vs Norway.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 5th March 1996 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the United States earning hosting duties unopposed following Australia and Chile's withdrawals. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 The US Women's Soccer Team summarising the hosting of the World Cup. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 3.47 3.48 3.49 3.50 3.51 3.52 3.53 3.54 3.55 3.56 3.57 3.58 3.59 3.60 3.61 3.62 3.63 3.64 3.65 3.66 3.67 3.68 3.69 3.70 3.71 3.72 Soccer Politics providing a summary of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Soccer America summarising the television schedule and noting changes made to the World Cup format. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Guardian summarising the success of the tournament. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  6. Girls Soccer Network noting the 1971 Women's World Cup Final drew 110,000 more than the 1999 FIFA World Cup Final. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 The New York Times reporting on the American television deals agreed for the World Cup. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  8. 8.0 8.1 Archived FIFA summarising the commercial success already heading into the tournament, as well as Eurosport and national TV deals being agreed on. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  9. Soccer, Women, Sexual Liberation: Kicking off a New Era noting ESPN relayed its coverage to over 70 countries. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 10.18 10.19 10.20 10.21 10.22 10.23 10.24 10.25 10.26 10.27 10.28 10.29 10.30 10.31 10.32 10.33 10.34 10.35 10.36 10.37 10.38 10.39 10.40 10.41 10.42 10.43 10.44 10.45 10.46 10.47 10.48 10.49 10.50 10.51 10.52 10.53 10.54 10.55 10.56 10.57 10.58 10.59 10.60 10.61 10.62 10.63 10.64 10.65 10.66 RSSSF detailing the results of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  11. 11.0 11.1 RSSSF detailing the results of the 1998 CAF Women's Championship. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  12. 12.0 12.1 RSSSF detailing the results of the 1997 AFC Women's Championship. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 RSSSF detailing the European Qualifying results. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  14. RSSSF detailing the results of the 1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  15. RSSSF detailing the results of the 1998 OFC Women's Championship. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  16. 16.0 16.1 RSSSF detailing the results of the 1998 Sudamericano Femenino and the Mexico-Argentina playoff. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  17. 17.0 17.1 Archived FIFA summarising their tournament's success and noting Group B was considered the group of death. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 21st June 1999 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the Germany-Italy game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 20th June 1999 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the China-Sweden game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 1st July 1999 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the China-Russia game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 1st July 1999 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the Norway-Sweden game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 2nd July 1999 issue of The Washington Post reporting on the United States-Germany game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 2nd July issue of The Boston Globe reporting on the Brazil-Nigeria game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 5th July issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the United States-Brazil game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  25. 25.0 25.1 5th July 1999 issue of The Los Angeles Times reporting on the China-Norway game. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 11th July issue of The Washington Post reporting on the Third Place Playoff. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 11th July 1999 issue of The Washington Post reporting on the United States winning the Final. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 The New York Times discussing the controversy surrounding Scurry's penalty save in the Final. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  29. The Guardian detailing Chastain's famous celebration. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23
  30. Sky News reporting on the similarities between Chastain's 1999 celebration and Chloe Kelly's 2022 one. Retrieved 3rd Mar '23