Brandi Chastain's World Cup Penalty Kick Highlights Promising Doc 'The 99ers'

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Brandi Chastain's World Cup Penalty Kick Highlights Promising Doc 'The 99ers'
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

If you can watch Brandi Chastain's penalty kick goal in the 1999 World Cup final without getting goosebumps, you probably don't have a passion for women's soccer. 

Or sports, for that matter. 

Former United States women's national team stars Chastain, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and the other members of the 1999 World Cup-winning team will be back in the spotlight on Tuesday, when ESPN's Nine for IX series of films takes a look at their epic accomplishment from 14 years prior. 

"The 99ers" takes us back to the summer before Y2K mania—the U.S. was the host nation for the '99 World Cup, its women were built for success at the tournament and the popularity of the sport seemed to grow with every American win. 

Tony DiCicco's squad cruised through group action, rallied for a come-from-behind victory against Germany in the knockout round and took down Brazil in the semifinals to grab a date with China in the '99 World Cup final. 

Photo credit: Hector Mata/Getty Images, via ESPN

After the Americans played the Chinese to a scoreless tie through 120 minutes, the World Cup came down to penalty kicks. U.S. goaltender Briana Scurry's gut-wrenching save of Lui Yung's shot opened the door for the U.S. to win the trophy outright.

It all came down to the left foot of a 31-year-old American defender. 

Chastain showed little emotion as she geared up for the final shot of the tournament. After the referee blew his whistle, she took off toward the ball, placed it in the top left corner of the net and took her shirt off to celebrate the U.S.' second World Cup crown. 

And thus, July 10, 1999, became a date people remembered. 

Over 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl and millions of others watching at home probably didn't realize what they were witnessing in the shootout would turn out to be one of the greatest moments in U.S. sports history. 

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Chastain and Hamm.

Heck, it's a moment that doesn't need the "U.S." tag line—Chastain's goal past the outstretched arms of Chinese goaltender Gao Hong is a moment in sports that will transcend well past the time when remembering the members of the '99 World Cup will be far harder than it is right now. 

This year was the 14th anniversary of the goal. That number doesn't carry any significance within the boundaries of American culture, but it didn't stop HuffPost Sports from reminiscing about the triumph on Twitter:

Two years ago, KBTX (College Station) reporter Steve Fullhart took some time out of his mid-July afternoon to pay homage to Chastain's strike on Twitter:

It's a moment we will continue to honor in the same breath as the 1992 Dream Team, the 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980 and a host of other individuals who have etched their name into American greatness with outstanding athletic accomplishments against international competition. 

As you check out "The 99ers" on ESPN on Tuesday night, appreciate everything each member of the 1999 USWNT World Cup roster did with respect to winning the trophy—Chastain would likely be the first person to tell you she didn't win any match in her national team career alone. 

Save some special anticipation for the World Cup-clinching goal, though, especially if it's been a while since you've had goosebumps. 

 

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

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