- A look back at four of the competition’s most memorable semi-finals
- USA are only former Women’s World Cup winners among France 2019 last four
- The Netherlands are contesting their first semi-final
Full of suspense, thrills and excitement, the semi-finals represent an opportunity to shine for the last four survivors of a long competition and one final hurdle before the final. And in the case of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, there have been many memorable semi-final encounters over the years.
With England about to take on USA and Sweden set to face the Netherlands, FIFA.com recalls four of the most legendary matches the last four of the competition has ever produced.
Norway 0-5 China PR, USA 1999
Reigning champions Norway seemed set to continue their regal progress to a second consecutive Final after beating Canada 7-1, Japan 4-0 and then Sweden 3-1 in the quarter-finals, with China PR not expected to present too much opposition. The Steel Roses had a certain Sun Wen in their line-up, however, and her outstanding performance and two goals against the Scandinavians played a large part in her walking away with the adidas Golden Ball and a share of the adidas Golden Boot a few days later.
Germany 3-0 USA, USA 2003
Beating the USA is quite an achievement in itself, but to do so in their own backyard is something else entirely. And when the USA line-up contains legends such as Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Cindy Parlow and the young but already gifted Abby Wambach, then that achievement is bordering on the miraculous. Yet that is exactly what Germany managed with an outstanding generation of players of their own, led by Birgit Prinz, Renate Lingor, Silke Rottenberg and Bettina Wiegmann, a generation that would win two world titles in a row. The final score was somewhat misleading. A tight and keenly contested match was only decided in stoppage time, when Die Nationalmannschaft scored twice to add to their 15th-minute opener.
Four years after losing to the Germans in the last four on home soil, the Americans were intent on learning the lessons and making the Final. Yet things did not quite work out that way for them, with the outstanding Marta penning one of the finest chapters of her career that day in Hangzhou. The Brazil forward helped herself to a brace to kill off the hopes of the Stars and Stripes. The greatest performance in the history of A Seleçao also happens to be one of Team USA’s biggest ever disappointments.
England’s first semi-final in their history pitched them against the defending champions, and as is often the case in landmark matches it all came down to fine margins. Jodie Taylor hit the post early on for England, before Aya Miyama drew on all her experience to put the Japanese ahead from the spot on the half-hour mark. The Three Lionesses replied with a penalty of their own, converted by Fara Williams, and dominated the second half. They came within centimetres of taking the lead, when Toni Duggan’s fierce strike crashed back off the crossbar, only to see the Japanese grab an injury-time winner on the break, with the unfortunate Laura Bassett turning Nahomi Kawasumi’s cross into her own net.