Women's World Cup winners: All the countries to win international football's top prize

The United States have dominated the 32-year history of the FIFA Women's World Cup
The United States have dominated the 32-year history of the FIFA Women's World Cup / Christopher Morris - Corbis/GettyImages
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The FIFA Women's World Cup is the pinnacle of the women's game, played every four years and pitting the best international teams from around the globe against each other.

Unofficial world cup-style tournaments were taking place as early 1970, with around 40,000 people watching Denmark beat Italy in a final that year. In 1971, an estimated 110,000 watched a final between Mexico and Denmark, the latter again winning, at the Azteca Stadium.

Italy continued to host invitational tournaments in the 1980s, while AFC held a first official continental tournament in 1975, with UEFA following suit in 1984. FIFA eventually tested the waters for an official World Cup with a competition in 1988, paving the way for the first World Cup three years later.

However, it wasn't even known as the Women's World Cup at that time. Sponsored by M&M's, to give it the full name, it was the '1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup'.

Only afterwards has that tournament become known as the first Women's World Cup, with FIFA seemingly satisfied by the success and allowing future competition to use the 'World Cup' name.

To date, there have been eight Women's World Cup tournaments, with the ninth taking place in Australia and New Zealand in the summer of 2023.


All-time Women's World Cup winners

Year

Winner

Runner-up

Final score

1991

United States

Norway

2-1

1995

Norway

Germany

2-0

1999

United States

China

0-0 (5-4 on pens)

2003

Germany

Sweden

2-1 (aet)

2007

Germany

Brazil

2-0

2011

Japan

United States

2-2 (3-1 on pens)

2015

United States

Japan

5-2

2019

United States

Netherlands

2-0

The United States were the inaugural Women's World Cup champions in 1991, beating Norway in front of more than 60,000 people in the city of Guangzhou in China. Michelle Akers, who went on to be named joint FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002, scored both goals in the final and eight others throughout the tournament to signal early and lasting American dominance at this level.

But the United States fell short in 1995, when the title went to Norway instead, with the tournament played just across the border in neighbouring Sweden. Hege Riise was the headline star two years after also helping Norway win Euro 1993, and five years before Olympic gold in 2000.

The World Cup headed to a third different continent in 1999, won for the second time by the United States and doing so on home soil. That famous generation, many of whom had already won in 1991 - including superstar forward Mia Hamm, were dubbed '99ers and became the standard by all future American players would be judged. The final against China was decided by a penalty shootout, which was won by Brandi Chastain, who then ripped her shirt off in an iconic and emotional celebration.

Although the United States were the first country to win the Women's World Cup twice, they were not the first to retain it. That honour went to Germany for their back-to-back wins in 2003 and 2007. Hosted in America again, the 2003 final was a narrow golden goal extra-time victory over Sweden decided by Nia Kunzer. Four years later in China, it was a more comfortable 2-0 win against Brazil.

In 2011, Japan became the first Asian country to win a senior level FIFA World Cup in either men's or women's football. Remarkably, they did so just four months after a devastatingly powerful eathquake and subsequent tsunami caused enormous damage back home - including nearly 20,000 deaths. Homare Sawa's 117th minute equaliser in the final forced penalties against the United States.


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The Americans had gone 16 years without a World Cup trophy since the '99ers won at home and had only played in one of the previous three finals by the time the 2015 tournament was hosted in Canada. After so many disappointments, this was at last when it all came together and it was Carli Lloyd who stole the show with a 16-minute hat-trick in a repeat of the 2011 final against Japan.

A largely similar United States squad then travelled to France in 2019 and retained the Women's World Cup trophy, something previous generations hadn't. This time, it was Megan Rapinoe who took centre stage, scoring five times in the knockout stages alone - two crucial penalties against Spain in the last 16, both goals against France in the quarters, and the opener in the final itself.


Who has won the most Women's World Cup trophies?

Trophies

Country

Winners

4 🏆🏆🏆🏆

United States

1991, 1999, 2015, 2019

2 🏆🏆

Germany

2003, 2007

1 🏆

Norway

1995

1 🏆

Japan

2011