The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is down to the final four teams and surprise, surprise, the U.S. Women’s National Team is still in the mix.
The U.S. women have been one of the best teams in the world since the sport went global in the early 90’s, and there have been plenty of amazing, memorable moments.
Here are the top U.S. Women’s National Team moments from over the years.
1991 FIFA World Championship vs. Norway
FIFA’s inaugural women’s tournament took place in China and the U.S. was dominant throughout, especially the forward line that was nicknamed the “Triple-Edged Sword” which featured team captain April Heinrichs, Carin Jennings and Michelle Akers. The Americans took down Norway in the final by the score of 2-1. Akers scored both goals in the final match and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 10 goals, winning the Golden Shoe Award, while Heinrichs was named player of the tournament.
1996 Olympics vs. China
For the first time in Olympic history women’s soccer was included in the games. Large crowds followed the host United States team around the country, dismissing the thoughts that nobody would be interested in watching women’s soccer on a global scale. Over 74,000 fans packed Sanford Stadium for the final match between the U.S. and China. A 68th minute goal by Tiffeny Milbrett would prove to be the winner as the American’s took home the gold with a 2-1 victory.
1999 World Cup vs. China
After the success of the ’96 Olympics, expectations were much higher when the United States hosted the 1999 World Cup. Almost 80,000 fans showed up for the opening game at Giants Stadium and as the U.S. women kept winning, fans became more and more captivated by the team. Despite the final match being scoreless through 90 minutes, there was no lack of excitement in the game. Penalty kicks would decide the winner of the World Cup, and the images of Brandy Chastain scoring the winning goal and celebrating afterwards would become some of the most iconic in American sports history.
2004 Olympics vs. Brazil
After failing to win gold at the 2000 Olympics, then again at the 2003 World Cup, the American women set out to end the losing streak on the world’s largest stage. With several of the stars of the team saying they would be retiring after the games, including Mia Hamm and Joy Fawcett, emotions ran high throughout the tournament. Ironically it would be the future star of the U.S. women’s team, Abby Wambach, who scored the gold medal winning goal. The then-24-year-old scored the decisive goal in the 112th minute with a spectacular header.
2011 World Cup vs. Brazil
With the dominant days of the “Fab Five” a distant memory, the American women barely qualified for the 2011 World Cup in Germany. The team started playing much better and advanced to the quarterfinals where they would face Brazil. Trailing 2-1 in the final moments, Megan Rapinoe lifted a crossing pass 40 yards across the field toward the back post, where none other than Abby Wambach was waiting. Wambach’s header in the 122nd minute sent the game to penalty kicks, where the U.S. women ultimately prevailed.
2012 Olympics vs. Japan
The American women were out for revenge after losing to Japan in the final of the 2011 World Cup. The powerhouse teams would again meet in the final match, but the results would not be the same. Over 80,000 fans packed into London’s Wembley Stadium for the highly anticipated match. Carly Lloyd scored both U.S. goals and Hope Solo made the “Save Heard ‘Round The World” with just five minutes remaining to seal the gold medal for the United States.
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