Most Memorable Upsets in Women's World Cup

Jerrad Peters@@jerradpetersWorld Football Staff WriterJune 4, 2015

Most Memorable Upsets in Women's World Cup

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    Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

    Like any other major tournament, the FIFA Women's World Cup has produced numerous upsets over the years.

    Given the presence of traditional contenders Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United States, some of them have been especially surprising.

    As we look forward to the 2015 edition of the competition, we look back at 10 of the event's most memorable, and unlikely, results.

10. 2011: Nigeria 1-0 Canada

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    Nigeria are nine-time African champions and hardly an underdog in women's competitions.

    At least not now.

    But in 2011, their 1-0 win over Canada in the group stage of the World Cup came as something of a surprise, as the Canucks had narrowly lost to the United States in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Olympics.

9. 2003: Canada 1-0 China

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    Canada's first, and only, World Cup semi-final appearance to date came in 2003 after they finished second in a group that included eventual winners Germany, Japan and Argentina.

    A showdown with 1999 runners-up China awaited in the quarter-finals.

    Shortly after kick-off, Charmaine Hooper stunned the Asian powerhouse with an early opener from which they never recovered, and the Canucks progressed to the final four.

8. 2007: Nigeria 1-1 Sweden

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    Nigeria didn't win a single match at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China and scored just once in three matches.

    But Cynthia Uwak's goal was historic—coming with eight minutes remaining against favoured Sweden and earning the African side a point in Chengdu.

    From there, however, the Super Falcons fell swiftly back to earth, losing to both North Korea and the United States in their remaining group-stage games.

7. 1995: Brazil 1-0 Sweden

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    Brazil weren't an immediate force in the women's game, and at the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, they finished bottom of their group.

    However, they got their campaign off to a memorable start when they shocked the host nation in Helsingborg in the tournament's first match.

    Roseli de Belo scored the game's only goal in the 37th minute.

6. 1995: Sweden 1-1 China (3-4 on Penalties)

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    Despite being one of women's football's early heavyweights, China were not expected to topple Sweden at the 1995 World Cup, which the Swedes hosted.

    It took until the third minute of second-half stoppage time for an Ulrika Kalte spot-kick to cancel out Sun Qingmei's 29th-minute opener, but China eventually prevailed on penalties.

    The Chinese narrowly lost to eventual runners-up Germany in the semi-finals.

5. 1999: North Korea 3-1 Denmark

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Norway and Sweden had already made significant impacts in women's football by 1999. Denmark looked to mimic their regional rivals at that year's World Cup in the United States.

    After being soundly beaten by the host nation at Giants Stadium in their first match, they looked to regroup for a June 24 contest against North Korea in Portland.

    They were thumped again.

    Jin Pyol-hui, Jo Song-ok and Kim Kum-sil each found the back of the net before Janni Johansen notched a consolation goal with 16 minutes remaining.

4. 1999: Ghana 1-1 Australia

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    More was expected from Australia at the 1999 Women's World Cup, but their campaign got off to a disappointing start when they drew with Ghana in Foxborough.

    After a scoreless first half, Julie Murray finally opened the scoring for the Matildas, although Nana Gyamfua replied for the Black Queens less than two minutes later.

    As it turned out, neither side earned a point from their next two matches against China and Sweden.

3. 2007: North Korea 2-2 United States

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    Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

    The United States failed to progress to the World Cup final in 2007 in China, and their disappointing tournament got off to an awkward start when they drew North Korea 2-2 in Chengdu.

    Shortly after Abby Wambach opened the scoring in the 50th minute Kil Son-hui restored parity. North Korea then took the lead on the hour mark through Kim Yong-ae.

    The Americans were forced to play catch up, and Heather O'Reilly's goal in the 69th minute salvaged a point for the reigning champions.

2. 1991: China 4-0 Norway

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    The first Women's World Cup match might have gone according to plan for host nation China, but European heavyweights Norway wouldn't have expected to be thumped 4-0 in Guangzhou.

    A Liu Ailing brace was bookended by goals from Ma Li and Sun Qingmei as the China cruised to victory, although Norway would regroup and make a run to the final.

    Back in Guangzhou, they were defeated 2-1 by the United States in the competition's inaugural final.

1. 1995: Norway 1-0 United States

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    PATSY LYNCH/Associated Press

    A Norwegian win over the United States isn't exactly categorised as an upset in women's football, but in 1995, the Americans were reigning World Cup winners and went on to triumph in the maiden Olympic tournament the following year.

    They had also topped their group in Sweden and destroyed Japan in the quarter-finals.

    Still, they couldn't find the back of the net against Norway in the semis, and Ann Kristin Aarones' 10th-minute opener proved to be the only goal of the game.

    Buoyed by their victory, the Norwegians went on to beat Germany 2-0 in the final.