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 5-4 with a penalties victory.
The match represented one of the most important events in the history of American athletics. It was played before over 90,000 fans in what remains the largest crowd ever to watch a women's sporting event. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.