With sport cancelled the world over, fans are itching to find any distraction. Thousands of people watching broadcasters commentating their dogs’ daily activities and sportsmen/women kicking around toilet roll were not highlights I expected for a year that was meant to include an Olympics and Paralympics, but here we are.
So tonight, in our own effort to fill the sporting void and bring a little positive nostalgia to lockdown life, I take you back to 1999.
The location is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The event is the third (official) Fifa Women’s World Cup final, between hosts USA and China.
Jennifer Lopez (or J-lo as she was best known then) performed ‘Let’s Get Loud’ on the pitch. Television ratings in the USA peaked at 40 million. Then-president and first lady Bill and Hillary Clinton cheered from a private box. And the match set a world record as 90,185 people watched from the stands.
No greater crowd has ever watched a women’s team sporting event. Not before then or since. It was truly a momentous occasion, and one that set in motion the development of a professional women’s soccer league in the US which launched in 2001, and changed the lives of USA team. Not to mention Brandi Chastain’s, whose sports bra found a coveted place in museums after that match (but more on that later).
On top of that, it was also a really great final, a classic final some would say, full of drama, tension and a dreaded penalty shootout.
If you have never watched the entire match back, or even if you remember watching it live 21 years ago, for the next three hours or so I will try not to mention either of the ‘c’ words and attempt to replicate the bliss that live sport alone offers. Hope you enjoy.