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Women’s World Cup: Top 10 moments in World Cup history

The ninth edition of the Women's World Cup is on the horizon and there should be no shortage of drama, intrigue and excitement when the tournament is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

That has certainly been the case across the previous eight competitions and we've compiled a list of the top 10 moments in Women's World Cup history.

10 - USA win first World Cup (1991)

The maiden World Cup was hosted in China in 1991 with 12 nations involved in the landmark event.

Fifa weren't entirely confident about the longevity of the competition and were reluctant to label it with their "World Cup" brand, meaning the tournament was officially known as the "1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup".

The governing body didn't need to be so cautious with over 500,000 people heading through the turnstiles across 26 fixtures.

Goals weren't in short supply with 99 scored - an average of 3.81 per game - and the USA went on to lift the trophy.

Head coach Anson Dorrance led the USA to glory, beating Norway 2-1 in the final, when Michelle Akers-Stahl scored twice to take her tournament tally to 10, which earned her the Golden Boot.

9 - Kelly Smith celebration (2007)

Iconic celebrations are a major part of the game and England's Kelly Smith is fondly remembered for her antics at the 2007 World Cup.

Smith made her debut at the World Cup in England's opening game of the competition against Japan at Hongkou Football Stadium in Shanghai.

On the night before that appearance, Smith recalls hatching a plan for how she would celebrate if she managed to find the back of the net.

Trailing 1-0, Smith struck in the 81st minute and she proceeded to take off her left boot before kissing it several times.

The former Arsenal forward grabbed a second, putting England 2-1 ahead just two minutes later, celebrating by taking off both boots and kissing them.

Japan did find a late equaliser and Smith felt the wrath of manager Hope Powell who Smith revealed gave her "a slap on the wrist" and told her "to never do that celebration again".

8 - Sweden pull off remarkable turnaround (1995)

Sweden hosted the second World Cup in 1995 and, after losing their opening game 1-0 against Brazil, they put in a stunning performance to beat Germany in their second fixture.

It looked to be falling apart for Sweden when Bettina Wiegmann and Ursula Lohn registered to put Germany 2-0 ahead by half time.

Malin Andersson gave Sweden hope from the penalty spot in the 65th minute and Pia Sundhage levelled the Group A clash with just 10 minutes left to play.

Andersson blew the roof off the Olympia Stadium in Helsingborg in the 86th minute to complete an incredible turnaround and help Sweden advance to the knockout phase.

7 - Golden goal decides final (2003)

Golden goal has always been an extremely cruel way to decide a game and even more so if it's utilised in a World Cup final.

That was the case in 2003 when Germany and Sweden met at Home Depot Center in California.

Sweden led in the final through Hanna Ljungberg but Maren Meinert drew Germany level in the second half and that's how it stayed after 90 minutes.

The two nations moved into an extra time golden goal period following and Germany's Nia Kuzner won the game in the 98th minute.

It proved to be the first and last time that golden goal was used in a World Cup final.

6 - USA claim record win (2019)

The USA have long been a dominant force on the World Cup stage, winning the maiden competition and lifting the trophy on a further three occasions to make them the most successful nation in the history of the tournament.

They've enjoyed emphatic outings across their eight involvements but made history in 2019 against Thailand, who were making just their second appearance at a World Cup.

The USA were 3-0 up at half time and they went on to net a further 10 in the second half to record a 13-0 win.

Alex Morgan scored five times to help the USA set a new record for the biggest World Cup win - beating Germany's 11-0 victory over Argentina in 2007.

5 - Naeher saves penalty to break Lionesses hearts

England were dreaming of reaching their first World Cup final in 2019 but it was always going to be a tall order as they lined up against defending champions USA in the semi-finals.

Winger Christen Press put USA ahead but Ellen White drew England level with just 19 minutes on the clock.

Alex Morgan restored the USA's lead in the 31st minute, celebrating with what has become an iconic tea-sipping routine.

England were handed a lifeline in the 84th minute when White was brought down in the box, however, Steph Houghton's penalty was saved by Alyssa Naeher.

The Lionesses imploded with Millie Bright sent off moments later and the USA went on to win the tournament.

4 - Japan win first title (2011)

Japan have been involved in all eight World Cups but they had only managed to advance beyond the group stage once prior to reaching the final in 2011.

The tournament took place in Germany and was just three months after a catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

Not much was expected of the Japanese, having only finished third in regional qualifying, but they made it to the final and beat the USA on penalties - becoming the first representatives from Asia, male or female, to win a World Cup.

3 - Defending champions Germany halt high-scoring Brazil (2007)

After lifting the World Cup for the first time in 2003, Germany were heavily fancied to challenge again in 2007 but a very impressive Brazil stood in their way in the final.

Brazil were the tournament's top-scorers, netting 17 times, while Germany had advanced through the tournament without conceding a single goal.

Ultimately, Germany's disciplined backline prevailed as they shutout Brazil - keeping Golden Boot winner Marta quiet - to run out 2-0 winners.

Germany remain the only team to have gone through an entire World Cup campaign without conceding.

2 - Lloyd hat-trick helps USA to glory (2015)

The USA hopped over the border for the 2015 World Cup in Canada eager to win the competition for the first time since 1999.

They eased through the group stage and then recorded wins to nil over Colombia, China and Germany to reach the final.

Defending champions Japan were their opponents in Vancouver as Carli Lloyd stole the show and sealed a 5-2 win for the USA with a hat-trick.

Two of Lloyd's strikes came from close range but the other was an audacious effort from the halfway line when she spotted goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori off her line.

Lloyd finished as the joint-top scorer in the competition.

1 - Brazil hand USA biggest-ever defeat (2007)

The USA are rarely humbled in the women's game but they were outclassed by Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup.

Things had already started to take a strange path for the USA prior to the game when head coach Greg Ryan opted to bench goalkeeper Hope Powell in favour of Briana Scurry, who hadn't played in for the national side in the last three months.

Brazil went on to put on a hugely impressive performance and subsequently handed the USA what still stands as their heaviest-ever defeat.

Marta bagged a brace for the South Americans, who lost the final against Germany, in a 4-0 triumph.

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