Welcome to The Football Sack’s Dummies Guide to the Women’s World Cup where you can catch-up on everything you need to know in time for kick-off on Sunday! Come back every day this week for the next chapter of the Dummies Guide.

Dummies Guide to the Women’s World Cup: Chapter Four

5: Hope Solo loses it, 2007

Hope Solo was the starting goalkeeper in the United States’ first group match against North Korea at the 2007 Women’s World Cup. She started in the next match, against Sweden, and the two after that, against Nigeria in the group and the quarter final against England, so it only seemed to follow that when the US faced Brazil in the semis, Hope Solo would be wearing the gloves.

Not so. Coach Greg Ryan benched Solo and instead opted to play veteran Briana Scurry, the 36-year-old having gone three months without completing a full match prior to the semi final against Brazil. The US lost 4-0, relinquishing a 51-game undefeated streak, and a furious Solo fronted the media post-match

“It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it’s not 2004 anymore. It’s not 2004. And it’s 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can’t live by big names. You can’t live in the past. It doesn’t matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that’s what I think.”

Solo missed a few matches on the US’s post-World Cup tour while Greg Ryan’s contract was left to expire, before things returned to normal.

4: Cheryl Salisbury sends Australia through the group, 2007

After Lisa De Vanna rescued a late draw for the Matildas in their second group match against Norway, Australia was left needing only a point in the final game against Canada.

Things started poorly: Melissa Tancredi scored for the Canadians within 32 seconds of kick-off and the Matildas trailed for 52 minutes until Colette McCallum curled a free kick around the wall and past Erin McLeod in the Canadian goal to equalise.

With five minutes remaining, Christine Sinclair scored to seemingly end Australian hopes of a second round clash with Brazil, but captain Cheryl Salisbury latched onto a loose ball in the area in the 92nd minute and swung her boot through a shot which missed three Canadian bodies as it spun into the net.

Australia qualified for the next round, losing 3-2 to the Brazilians, but becoming the first Australian team of either gender to reach the quarter final stage of a World Cup.

3: Brilliant Marta downs the US, 2007

If you want to be picky I guess you could say that the keeper’s touch takes something away from Marta’s second goal in Brazil’s aforementioned demolition of the United States in the 2007 semi final. Otherwise, it’s a pretty good goal: picking the ball up on the left and flicking it over her shoulder to run past Tina Ellertson on the edge of the box, she cuts inside a sprawling Cat Whitehill and hits her shot low under Scurry who gets a hand to the ball but can’t stop it from rolling into the net.

Here, just watch it. Brazil went on to lose in the final and Marta won the Golden Shoe and Ball awards for most goals and best player respectively.

2: Künzer’s golden goal, 2003

FIFA introduced the golden goal rule in 1993 in an effort to encourage attacking play and reduce the number matches ending in penalty shoot outs – the World Cup in Italy three years earlier had yielded a historical low goals-per-game average, with four penalty shoot outs [a record since equaled by the 2006 and 2014 tournaments].

The 2003 Women’s World Cup final was the only World Cup final to have been decided by a golden goal. Sweden played Germany at the Home Depot Center in southern California, going ahead in the 41st minute through Hanna Ljungberg before Maren Meinert pulled a goal back for the Germans five minutes later. The match played out to an end and extra time began with defender Nia Künzer coming on as fresh legs minutes before the final whistle.

Ten minutes later, she’d won the World Cup for the first time in the German women’s national team’s history with a looping header from a Renate Lingor free-kick. The Swedes collapsed, the Germans celebrated on the touchline, and for a moment, some players and fans didn’t seem to fully realise that the match was over. The golden goal rule was abolished a few months later, used for the final time at Euro 2004.

Embedding is disabled for this video so you’ll have to watch it here.

1: Brandi Chastain wins the World Cup for the US, 1999

Liu Ying had missed her penalty to leave China trailing the US by one in the shoot out and Kristine Lilly stretched the advantage to two with the spot kick that followed. Zhang Ouying stepped up for China next and scored to bring China closer before Mia Hamm converted for the Americans. Sun Wen scored her penalty too but Ying’s miss earlier meant that Brandi Chastain had the opportunity to take out the World Cup for the US for a second time with a final kick of the ball.

Chastain would later claim to have seen Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hong dive to her right on the four previous penalties. She took hers with her left foot, instructed by coach Tony DiCicco to practice with her weaker foot to make her penalties less predictable.

“I didn’t hear any noise. I didn’t get caught up looking at Gao Hong,” she said afterwards. “I just put it home.”

Chastain’s celebration would come to be the defining image of women’s football in America – the iconic photo of the player on her knees, shirt in hand, with over 90,000 people packed into the stands of the Rose Bowl behind her, was splashed across every newspaper in the country. Women’s football had arrived, more or less, and a professional league was set up within months of the final.

The Football Sack’s Dummies Guide to the Women’s World Cup
Tune in each day for the next chapter

Chapter One: Matildas World Cup History
Chapter Two: Stars of 2015
Chapter Three: W-League Imports
Chapter Four: Five Moments that Mattered
Chapter Five: The Contenders
Chapter Six: Meet the Matildas

SHARE