The Women's World Cup is back! We list five iconic moments from tournaments past below…
Mia Hamm: The Outfielder in Goal
Mia Hamm is best known for her achievements scoring goals, but at the 1995 Women’s World Cup, she made history saving them.
The starting goalkeeper, Briana Scurry, was dismissed for handling the ball outside the box on a goal kick in the 88th minute. The US Women's National Team coach Tony DiCicco had used his three substitutions and up stepped Mia to steady the ship for the remainder of the contest.
She made two saves in her short stint in net, proving to be a good emergency shot-stopper as the US held out to win 2-0.
Sari Van Veenendaal and Hedvig Lindahl bring fingertips to the 2019 World Cup
Hedvig Lindahl is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the women's game. Now 40 years old, she continues to play professionally in her native Sweden for Djurgården. Competing in her fifth and final World Cup in 2019, she produced one of the tournament's top saves, turning back the clock to acrobatically flick a spearing header on to the crossbar.
Watch the saves here (3:01 and 3:19)
In the same game, Lindahl's opposing number was Sari Van Veenendaal of the Netherlands. She produced an equally exceptional save earlier in the second half. showing superb reach to get down low and get the slightest of brushes on the ball to turn it on to the post. It was a game of fine margins, and Van Veenendaal's save was befitting of that. It was a match of high quality between the sticks between two of the world's best, and a World Cup semi-final that will be remembered for a very long time.
Christiane Endler meets it on the bounce
The 2019 World Cup was littered with moments of goalkeeping greatness, none much better than Christine Endler’s stop against Sweden for Chile in their group stage clash. Somewhat reminiscent of Gordon Banks' great stop against Brazil, a Chile side that was certainly holding much hope in its excellent goalkeeper. The 25th minute save came initially from a Sweden corner that was headed down from one Sweden player to another and flicked goalward from just several yards out.
Watch the save here (0:31)
Watching the ball exceptionally well and athletically judging the bounce saw Endler get a strong palm on the ball and guide it to safety for another corner. She would hold a strong Sweden side out for over 80 minutes, before two late goals would break Chilean hearts.
Erin Nayler: The Triple Threat!
Again, the 2019 tournament held in France cooked up another classic goalkeeping moment. Erin Nayler saved not once, not twice, but three times in quick succession. In a game that New Zealand already found themselves trailing 1-0 to Cameroon in, the triple save kept their hopes alive. The pick of the bunch was the third, as she contorted herself to save an awkward low shot. The effort was sadly in vain for Erin as her New Zealand side would finish bottom of Group E.
Watch the save here (1:40)
Ayumi Kaihori wins Japan the 2011 World Cup
The final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup is sometimes regarded as the moment the world stood up and took notice of the quality of the women's game. Both the standard of football and drama throughout the match was of the highest order, with the two best teams meeting under the optimal circumstances.
The US were considered to be pre-match favourites, having knocked out Marta’s Brazil on the way to the final. The Japanese team had shown incredible resolve since losing to England 2-0 in the group stages. On July 17th 2011, the final would of course be decided by penalties, and more specifically by the goalkeeping during these penalties.
It would start badly for the US (a sign of what was to come), as veteran defensive midfielder Shannon Box would be denied by the trailing leg of Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori. After two penalties each, the score read 1-0 to Japan, after Hope Solo saved to deny Nagasato and quell a commanding Japanese lead.
US substitute Tobin Heath’s penalty would also be saved by the springing leap of Kaihori. The writing was now starting to be on the wall. Hope Solo tried in vain to stop the next penalty from rustling the net. 2-0 Japan. Wombach would score to make it 2-1 and leave it down to Kumagai to seal it for Japan, who duly smacked the ball home and made history for Japan. The first Asian champions in the tournament's history. The team would swarm their two heroes, Kumagai and the goalkeeper Kaihori.