On this day in 1999, the United States Women’s Soccer Team faced China in the finals of the third Women’s World Cup. With 90,185 in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, it remains the largest crowd to watch a women’s sporting event and its U.S. television audience of 17,975,000 was the largest to watch a U.S. team soccer game.
The U.S. team reached the final with a 5-0 record outscoring opponents 18-3. China also was unbeaten and had outscored opponents 19-2, including routing defending champion Norway 5-0 in the semifinals.
Despite the team’s explosive offenses, the match was 0-0 at the end of regulation, with the title to be decided by penalty kicks. Both teams scored on their first two attempts, but then American goalkeeper Briana Scurry blocked Liu Ying kick (video 8:55).
American Kristine Lilly scored to put the U.S. a 3-2 lead (video 9:25).
China scored on their fourth attempt and legendary Mia Hamm responded in kind to made it 4-3 (video 10:33).
China scored on their last attempt, giving Brandi Chastain the chance to win on the final shot – which she did in dramatic fashion (video 12:00).
The win gave the US Women’s team their second World Cup.
The game is no longer the most watched soccer game involving a U.S. team – that now belongs to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team when they won their 3rd World Cup in 2015.