20 years ago today, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2003™ kicked off in Philadelphia, USA – a relatively last-minute change, as up until April of that year China had been down to hold the tournament’s fourth edition. Join us as we look back at some of the moments that etched themselves into the football history books.
Unfortunately, due to a SARS outbreak, it was deemed necessary to delay China’s hosting responsibilities until the following tournament. Fortunately, the United States, having hosted the 1999 competition, had the expertise and infrastructure already in place. This made them the first and (so far) only country to host back-to-back FIFA World Cup tournaments, and they did so as defending champions. 1991 winner April Heinrichs received the trophy in a handover ceremony ahead of the tournament in which, as USA’s Head Coach, she was set to become the first person in history to have both played and coached a FIFA Women’s World Cup match.
While most of the competing countries had already travelled stateside for the 1999 tournament, there with some fresh faces amongst the veterans – with Argentina, France and Republic of Korea making their Women’s World Cup debut. Luckily all of the newbies managed to avoid Group A, which had been unanimously dubbed as that years’ “Group of Death”. It featured the current title holders (USA), the African champions (Nigeria), the Asian Champions (Korea DPR) and the European runners-up and soon to be 2003 finalists (Sweden).