Top 10 moments in Women's World Cup history
Chastain's heroics, Smith's smooching, and the amazing Marta
Great goals, thrilling games, memorable player celebrations and controversial incidents.
CBCSports.ca takes a look at the 10 most memorable moments in the history of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
1) Brandi Chastain's winning goal (1999)
Who can ever forget it? It was one of the most memorable images in the history of women's soccer, and a moment that transcended sports
July 10, 1999. Women's World Cup final. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., 90,185 spectators.
A pressure situation if there ever was one.
The United States and China were locked in a 0-0 stalemate following 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime. The game went to a penalty shootout, with both sides converting their first two chances.
But Liu Ailing missed for China, opening the door for the Americans. With the shootout tied 4-4, Brandi Chastain stepped up to the spot to take the Americans' fifth kick and win in for the host nation.
With a rabid Rose Bowl crowd and millions around the world watching, Chastain fired home to deliver the Americans their second World Cup crown.
Even more memorable than the kick heard around the world was what followed.
After the ball sailed into the net, Chastain celebrated by peeling off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra, clenching her fists as her teammates mobbed her. It was an iconic image that was instantly beamed around the world, and it made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Women's soccer had finally broken through into the mainstream.
2) Akers clinches 1st title for U.S. (1991)
The first World Cup in the United States needed a goal-scoring hero to become the star of the tournament in order to firmly establish the competition and draw future followers to the women's game. American forward Michelle Akers obliged by scoring 10 goals (a tournament record that still stands), including a decisive 78th minute strike to lead the U.S. to a 2-1 win over Norway in the final.
3) Nia Kunzer's Golden Goal (2003)
The 2003 World Cup final in the United States pitted two sides, Germany and Sweden, who were looking to claim their first title. Hanna Ljungberg gave the Swedes the lead in the 41st minute, but Maren Meinert tallied in the opening minute of the second half to tie things up. The score was still tied at the end of regulation, leading way to sudden death overtime. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman — in this case Nia Kunzer, who scored the Golden Goal in the 98th minute to secure Germany's first championship.
4) Hooper's heroics for Canada (2003)
Canada's best showing at the Women's World Cup came eight years ago in the United States, when it reached the knockout stage of the tournament for the first (and to this day) only time. After posting a 2-1 record in the first round, the Canadians faced a tough match-up in the quarter-finals against China. Few gave Canada much of a chance against the Chinese, one of the pre-tournament favourites, but Charmaine Hooper's seventh-minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 win for the Big Red. Canada went on to lose to Sweden the semifinals and finish fourth overall, but it was Hooper's heroics that made it all possible.
5) Germany repeats (2007)
It was a classic battle pitting Brazil's awesome attack against Germany's stingy defence. Birgit Prinz scored the winning goal in the 52nd minute and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer recorded her sixth consecutive shutout of the competition, as Germany earned a thrilling 2-0 victory over Brazil in the final in Shanghai. Simone Laudehr also scored with four minutes left in regulation for Germany, which became the first country in the history of the Women's World Cup to repeat as champion.
6) Sweden's stunning comeback (1995)
One of the most exciting and entertaining matches in the history of the tournament took place 16 years ago. Germany took a 2-0 halftime lead over hosts Sweden in a first-round encounter, and looked well on its way to recording their second win. But the Swedes stormed back in the second half, including scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of regulation, to post an amazing come-from-behind victory at the Olympia Stadium in Helsingborg.
7) Marvellous Marta (2007)
The best goal in the history of the tournament? That would be Marta's highlight-reel effort in the semifinals. Marta completed Brazil's 4-0 rout of the U.S. in the 79th minute when she back-heeled the ball around an American player, spun around and continued on her run inside the penalty box before sidestepping another defender and coolly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Briana Scurry. A thing of beauty.
8) The game that started it all (1991)
The brainchild of then FIFA president Joao Havelange, the inaugural Women's World Cup took place 20 years ago in China, with the tournament's first-ever match taking place on Nov. 16. FIFA could not have asked for a better start, as the Chinese rolled to an easy 4-0 win over Norway before 65,000 spectators at Guangzhou's Tianhe Stadium.
9) Kelly Smith's big kiss off (2007)
Kelly Smith brought a touch of showmanship to the tournament during an opening-round match against Japan. With Japan sitting on a 2-1 lead, England levelled the score when Smith fought off a defender to slot a low shot past goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto in the 81st minute. Two minutes later, Smith found herself alone in the six-yard box and slipped a shot through the legs of Fukumoto to give England a stunning lead. After both goals, Smith took her shoe off her foot and kissed it, much to the delight of her teammates and the crowd in Shanghai.
10) Hope Solo's outburst (2007)
The U.S. cruised through the first four matches of the competition, with goalkeeper Hope Solo registering three shutouts and conceding just two goals. But American coach Greg Ryan opted in the semifinal to start veteran Briana Scurry, who was undefeated in 12 previous games against Brazil, including the gold medal game at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The goalkeeping switch backfired, though, as Scurry looked rusty between the posts and was at fault on Brazil's second goal, after being beaten by a harmless shot from Marta.
An angry Solo vented her frustration after the game in an exclusive interview with CBC Sports.
"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," Solo said. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves.
"And the fact of the matter is, it's not 2004 anymore … it's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present."
"It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago, now is what matters …," she added.