There has never been a forward line quite like it in the history of the women’s game. Three women dominated the goalscoring charts at the first World Cup and collectively they were known as the “Triple-Edged Sword”…
The first hint that the American team could be on the verge of something special came in April 1991 at a qualifying tournament in Port-au-Prince in Haiti to determine the Concacaf entrant for the first Women’s World Cup in China. The US team stormed through their matches, winning all five and scoring 49 goals without reply. Three strikers had a field day. Michelle Akers scored 11, captain April Heinrichs eight and Carin Jennings five.
The “Triple-Edged Sword” was born, although the name would be coined later, as in six months’ time, they would be scything their way through their opponents’ defences at the World Cup.
Three years earlier, much had been expected of the USA at the International Women’s Football Tournament, a trial run for the World Cup, also held in Guangzhou in Southern China. There, the Americans got no further than the quarter-finals. Heinrichs had pulled out before the tournament, while Akers only played the first two games before suffering a head injury. The Americans lost the quarter-final 1-0 to fierce rivals Norway, and no-one was quite sure what to expect of them at the World Cup itself three years later.