1999 World Cup Final

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Link to 1999 Women’s World Cup

July 10, 1999 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California

United States vs. China

There were over 90,000 people in attendance at the Rose Bowl for the final match of the 1999 World Cup, including US President Bill Clinton. After 90 minutes of regulation play and two 15-minute overtime periods played in the sweltering summer heat the match would be decided in penalty kicks. China, after winning the coin toss would take the first kick.[1]

Taking the penalty kicks for China were Xie Huilin, Qui Haiyan, Liu Ying, Zhang Ouying, Sun Wen

Taking the penalty kicks for the US were Captain Carla Overbeck, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain

China and the US made their first two shots, however US goalkeeper Briana Scurry stopped Liu Ying’s shot. Scurry had read her intentions, “lunged with an explosive step, then planted her feet wide and dived to her left…Her body was parallel to the ground, her cleats kicking up turf, her arms extended like a diver’s, and she pushed the ball away with both gloved hands.”[2] Scurry’s save was huge, the crowd inside the stadium exploded, but it was not over yet. The next three US players had to make their shots in order to secure the win, assuming the remaining Chinese players made their shots. Kristine Lilly netted her PK, the US was then up 3-2. Chinese player Ouying scored next. Mia Hamm was the fourth US player to take a penalty kick, although she was reluctant to do so as a result of her lackluster confidence in herself after a no-scoring streak. Hamm dug deep within and brought herself the confidence she needed to put the ball in the back of the net.

Chinese star Sun Wen took the team’s fifth and final shot making it to tie the score at 4-4. It all came down to Chastain. Head Coach for Team USA Tony DiCicco selected Chastain over Foudy for the 5th spot, the catch being that Chastain would kick with her left foot. He selected her because he knew her confidence and grace under pressure would equal success.

“Brandi wants the spotlight and to have the responsibility on her. The ability to play with both feet, someone who normally takes the kick right footed and feels totally confident switching to her left foot, that’s unique in my mind. Amazing confidence. Some players are afraid of failure, they don’t want the role. Brandi wants it. She wants the spotlight. That’s the type of player you want in penalty kicks.”[3]


DiCicco made the right choice; Brandi drove her left-footed shot into the net using the laces of her shoe to generate awesome power. The United States emerged victorious and the rest of course is history.

Team USA with Trophy


[1] Longman, “Girls of Summer,” 4.


[2] Longman, “Girls of Summer,” 271-272.

[3] Longman, “Girls of Summer,” 265.

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