Women’s soccer has come a long way in recent years, with the sport gaining more recognition and growing in popularity around the world. The women’s game has produced some truly amazing matches that have left fans on the edge of their seats, with incredible athleticism, skill, and heart on display.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 most thrilling women’s soccer matches of all time, from the Women’s World Cup to the Olympics and beyond.
10 Most Thrilling Women’s Soccer Matches of All Time
1. 1999 Women’s World Cup Final – USA vs. China
The 1999 Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and China is widely regarded as one of the greatest matches in the history of women’s soccer. Held on July 10, 1999, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the game drew a record crowd of over 90,000 spectators.
The match was a tense and tightly contested affair, with both teams producing numerous chances but failing to score during regulation time. The game went into extra time, where again both teams battled hard to break the deadlock, but neither could find the back of the net.
The match ultimately went to penalties, and it was here that the United States emerged victorious, winning 5-4 on penalties after China missed their final spot-kick.
The game was memorable not just for the drama and excitement of the penalty shootout, but also for the quality of play and the passion and commitment shown by both teams. The United States team, in particular, captured the hearts of the American public, with their star player, Brandi Chastain, famously ripping off her shirt in celebration after scoring the winning penalty kick.
The 1999 Women’s World Cup Final was a landmark moment for women’s soccer, helping to raise the profile of the sport and inspire a new generation of players around the world. It remains a defining moment in the history of women’s sports and a testament to the power of determination, skill, and teamwork.
2. 2011 Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal – Brazil vs. United States
Next in the list of Most Thrilling Women’s Soccer Matches of All Time is 2011 Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal – Brazil vs. United States.
In what was a closely contested match, the United States took on Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The match went into extra time, and in the 120th minute, Abby Wambach scored one of the most incredible goals in soccer history. After a cross from Megan Rapinoe, Wambach headed the ball into the net to tie the game at 2-2 and send the match into penalties, which the US ultimately won.
3. 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Match – USA vs. Japan
The US women’s soccer team took on Japan in the final of the 2012 Olympics in London, seeking redemption after losing to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup final. In a thrilling match, the US took the lead three times, only for Japan to equalize each time. In the end, Carli Lloyd scored the winning goal in the 54th minute, securing the gold medal for the US team.
4. 2019 Women’s World Cup Final – USA vs. Netherlands
The US women’s soccer team took on the Netherlands in the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, looking to defend their title. The match was tightly contested, with the US dominating possession but struggling to break down the Dutch defense. In the end, Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle both scored in the second half to secure a 2-0 victory for the US team.
5. 2015 Women’s World Cup Final – USA vs. Japan
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Match between the United States and Japan was a highly anticipated rematch of the 2011 Women’s World Cup Final, which Japan had won on penalties. The match was held on August 9, 2012, at Wembley Stadium in London, England, and drew a record crowd of over 80,000 spectators.
The United States took an early lead through a goal from Carli Lloyd in the eighth minute, but Japan responded quickly with an equalizer from Yuki Ogimi just three minutes later. The match remained deadlocked at 1-1 through the end of regulation time and extra time, with both teams creating several chances but failing to score.
The game went to penalties, and it was here that the United States emerged victorious, winning 2-1 on penalties after Japan missed two of their spot-kicks. The victory was the fourth Olympic gold medal for the United States women’s soccer team, cementing their status as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport.
6. 2011 Women’s World Cup Final – Japan vs. United States
In the final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Japan took on the United States in what was a thrilling match. The US took the lead twice, only for Japan to equalize both times. The match went to penalties, and Japan ultimately won 3-1 to secure their first Women’s World Cup title.
7. 2007 Women’s World Cup Semifinal – Brazil vs. United States
In the semifinals of the 2007 Women’s World Cup, Brazil took on the United States in what was an incredible match. Brazil took the lead twice, only for the US to equalize both times. The game went into extra time, and in the 120th minute, Abby Wambach scored a sensational goal to secure a 3-2 victory for the US team.
8. 2016 Olympic Quarterfinal – Brazil vs. Australia
In a thrilling quarterfinal match at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil took on Australia in what was a back-and-forth game. Australia took the lead twice, only for Brazil to equalize both times. The match went to penalties, and in the end, Brazil secured a 7-6 victory to advance to the semifinals.
9. 2012 Women’s World Cup Semifinal – USA vs. Canada
2012 Women’s World Cup Semifinal between USA and Canada was one of the best games ever in the history of Women’s Soccer.
In the semifinals of the 2012 Women’s World Cup, the US took on Canada in a match that will be remembered for a controversial decision by the referee. Canada took the lead three times, only for the US to equalize each time. In the 123rd minute, the referee awarded the US a penalty kick, which Abby Wambach converted to secure a 4-3 victory for the US team.
10. 2019 Women’s World Cup Round of 16 – France vs. Brazil
The 2019 Women’s World Cup Round of 16 match between France and Brazil was held on June 23, 2019, at the Stade Océane in Le Havre, France.
France was the host country and one of the favorites to win the tournament, while Brazil was a strong team that had reached the Round of 16 after finishing third in their group.
The match was a closely contested affair, with both teams creating several chances throughout the game. France took the lead in the 52nd minute through a penalty by captain Amandine Henry, but Brazil responded with an equalizer in the 63rd minute, thanks to a wonderful strike by Thaisa.
The game remained tied at 1-1 through the end of regulation time, and the match went into extra time. France scored the winning goal in the 107th minute, with a powerful header by center back Wendie Renard off a corner kick.
Brazil fought hard until the final whistle, but they were unable to find an equalizer, and France advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
As women’s soccer continues to grow in popularity and recognition, we can look forward to many more unforgettable moments on the field. Whether it’s at the international level or in local leagues, the women who play soccer are setting new standards for excellence and inspiring a new generation of young players to follow in their footsteps.