Highlights and heroines from the first seven Finals
Watch highlights from all seven previous #FIFAWWC Finals
We spotlight a star and a stat from each one
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China PR 1991
USA 2-1 Norway
The heroine Michelle Akers exceptionally scored 39 goals in 26 games in 1991 – easily a record for a USA player in a calendar year. Two came in the Guangzhou decider. The first showcased her voracious hunger to get to the ball, klipspringer’s leap and heading ability, while she robbed possession and rounded the goalkeeper for the second.
The stat 1 team has lost their opening match and reached the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final: Norway in 1991. Remarkably, they lost that curtain-raiser 4-0 to hosts China PR.
Germany 0-2 Norway
The heroine Hege Riise wriggled past two players and, from outside the box, guided the ball into the bottom corner to break the deadlock. The brilliant effort helped her win the tournament’s adidas Golden Ball.
The stat 41 years had passed since a team won a FIFA World Cup™ or Women's World Cup in a bordering country until Norway did so in Sweden. West Germany’s triumph in Switzerland in 1954 had been the last, with Uruguay conquering Brazil four years earlier.
USA 0-0 China PR (5-4 on penalties)
The heroine Kristine Lilly cleared a goal-bound shot away from the line, Briana Scurry saved a spot-kick in the shoot-out, but the post-match headlines were monopolised by Brandi Chastain. After scoring the winning penalty, her consequent celebration, which she labelled “temporary insanity”, led to one of the most iconic sporting images in history.
The stat 90,185 attended the Rose Bowl climax – a record for a women’s football game.
Germany 2-1 Sweden
The heroine Bettina Wiegmann, in her 154th and final appearance for Germany, was magnificent. When they fell behind, she inspired Tina Theune-Meyer’s team to get back into it with an on-pitch pep talk and bulldozing charges through the midfield.
The stat 1 female has won Germany’s ‘Goal of the Year’ award in its near-50-year history: Nia Kunzer for her sterling header against Sweden. The prize has been pocketed by the likes of Gerd Muller, Gunter Netzer, Klaus Fischer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Pierre Littbarski, Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Moller, Jay-Jay Okocha, Bernd Schuster, Jean-Pierre Papin, Oliver Bierhoff, Michael Ballack, Raul, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Gotze.
China PR 2007
Germany 2-0 Brazil
The heroine Brazil, having smashed USA 4-0 in the semi-finals, and with Marta and Cristiane at the peak of their galactic powers, were the favourites. They couldn’t, nevertheless, find a way past Germany’s exceptional No1 Nadine Angerer, who saved a Marta penalty.
The stat 3 Women's World Cup finals is what Germany’s Birgit Prinz became the first player to appear in in Shanghai.
Japan 2-2 USA (3-1 on penalties)
The heroine USA were on the cusp of glory when Homare Sawa, with an absurd flick, scored one of the greatest goals in Women’s World Cup history to send the thriller to a shoot-out, which Japan won. Sawa lifted the trophy, then collected the adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Boot.
The stat 117 minutes were on the clock when Sawa scored what remains the latest goal scored in a Women's World Cup Final.
USA 5-2 Japan
The heroine Carli Lloyd hit a hat-trick in the first 16 minutes, including a wonder goal which was nominated, alongside beauties from Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and eventual winner Wendell Lira, for that year’s FIFA Puskás Award.
The stat 40 years and 11 days is the age at which Christie Rampone became the oldest player in Women’s World Cup history against Japan. Although outranked by Brazil’s Formiga at France 2019, the American remains the oldest player to have appeared in the competition’s Final.