The 1999 Women’s World Cup final is known mostly for the lasting image of Brandi Chastain in a sports bra that graced the cover of magazines and newspapers. But the game itself is seen as a watershed moment in the history of women’s sports.
Just 20 years after Title IX, before the United States was the unstoppable women’s soccer power it is now, the ’99ers (as that year’s U.S. Women’s National Team is now called) packed stadiums, stole hearts and, of course, brought home a trophy.
Now that the US-China final is old enough to drink, here are three of the most iconic moments from July 10, 1999:
The sold-out Rose Bowl
ABC’s nationally televised broadcastbegan by zooming in on a sold-out Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, with fans holding signs and waving American flags.
“Back in ’91, I never could’ve imagined that in eight short years, the U.S. would be hosting the Women’s World Cup final in a sold-out Rose Bowl Stadium,” Wendy Gebauer, a member of the 1991 team that won the World Cup, said on the broadcast. “I truly believe we could’ve sold over 100,000 tickets to this event. This is more than a game, this is a defining moment in women’s sports history.”
She didn’t know how right she’d be.
Originally, FIFA organizers wanted to limit the event to several small venues in places like Richmond, Virginia, and Buffalo, New York, with the final at RFK Stadium (capacity 55,000) in Washington. But after more than 76,000 fans attended the 1996 Olympic final in Athens, Georgia,they changed course, awarding bids to four large NFL stadiums and the final to the 90,000-seat Rose Bowl.
Some worried the players would have the embarrassment of playing in a mostly empty stadium, but the organizers’ gamble paid off and the U.S. team played in front of a sold-out crowd. With an attendance of 90,185, the final was the most-attended women’s sporting event in history.
‘Let’s Get Loud’
Not only did the Women’s World Cup sell out the Rose Bowl, it got another big-name performer — Jennifer Lopez — who performed her new song “Let’s Get Loud.” The song’s official music video was filmed live before the final, with Lopez shimmying across the stage in go-go boots and pumping up the crowd.
While Lopez’s singing career was just taking off at the time, the song became one of her most well-known — so much so that she later performed it with Shakira at halftime of Super Bowl LIV.
Brandi Chastain’s moment
Everyone remembers the image. After scoring the winning goal in the penalty shootout, Chastain took off her jersey and twirled it around her head while celebrating. A photo of the moment made it on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
But the winning goal was about more than that for Chastain.
In the quarterfinals against Germany, she’d scored an embarrassing own goal. Then she was a last-minute replacement in the fifth spot in the penalty-kick lineup vs. China, taking the shot with her non-dominant foot.
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The famous moment wasn’t Chastain’s only winning goal of the tournament. After her own goal against Germany, she redeemed herself with the game-winner.
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Sports on TV
Basketball (live): The Basketball Tournament continues with two quarterfinal games. First, Philadelphia-based Brotherly Love will take on Marquette alumni team the Golden Eagles at 2 p.m. ET. Then, Illinois alumni team House of ‘Paign and Dayton alumni team Red Scare face off at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Wrestling (live): WWE will have its weekly Friday Night Smackdown at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
Soccer (live): The MLS is Back tournament continues with the Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Golf (live): The celebrity golf tournament American Century Championship will have the end of its first round at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.