FIFA Women’s World Cup: Top five moments in tournament history


England's Kelly Smith celebrates after scoring a goal against Japan at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Great goals, legendry players, thrilling games, and unforgettable celebrations — the FIFA Women’s World Cup has provided plenty of entertainment since the inaugural tournament in 1991.

With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup set to kick off in France, Sportsnet takes a look at the five most memorable moments in the history of the competition.

Marta undresses U.S. defence

The best goal in the history of the tournament might just be the one Marta scored against the U.S. in the semifinals in 2007. Marta completed Brazil’s 4-0 rout when she sublimely 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.

Smith’s big kiss for England

Kelly Smith gets the award for best goal celebration at the Women’s World Cup. The English forward brought a touch of showmanship to her country’s group-stage game against Japan in 2007. With England down 2-0, Smith scored a pair of goals in the 81st and 83rd minute to draw her team level. After her second goal, Smith famously took her shoe off and kissed it, much to the delight of her teammates and the fans in Shanghai.

Kunzer’s “Golden Goal”

After thrashing the host U.S., Germany advanced to the 2003 final in Los Angeles where a date with Sweden awaited them. It was a battle between two heavyweights of the women’s game who were looking to win their first World Cup. With the score tied 1-1, Nia Kunzer scored the “Golden Goal” in the 98th minute, powering home an unstoppable header off a free kick played into the box to secure Germany’s first championship and break Swedish hearts.


Sinclair shows her toughness

How tough is Christine Sinclair? She’s so tough that after breaking her nose in Canada’s opening game of the 2011 World Cup against Germany, the Canadian captain returned to action and started for the Reds in their second match just four days later. The nose wasn’t completely healed, but Sinclair donned a special protective mask and fought through the pain to represent her country. Sinclair couldn’t prevent Canada from being hammered 4-0 by France, but her toughness and courage cemented her status as Canadian sports icon.

Chastain wins it for the U.S.

It was one of the most memorable images in the history of women’s soccer. China and the U.S. are tied 4-4 in their penalty shootout during the 1999 final before 90,185 spectators inside the Rose Bowl. Brandi Chastain stepped up to the spot to take the Americans’ fifth kick. Chastain fired home to deliver the U.S. its second World Cup crown. After the ball sailed into the net, Chastain celebrated by ripping off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra, clenching her fists as she was mobbed by teammates. It was an iconic image that was beamed around the world and made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Women’s soccer had finally broken through into the mainstream.

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