Monday 16 November 2020, 08:48

Sun Wen: First match is my greatest Women's World Cup memory

  • First-ever FIFA Women's World Cup match took place 29 years ago today

  • China PR legend Sun Wen shares her memories of the occasion

  • "I feel it was the most unforgettable experience of my life”

When it comes to selecting a career highlight, Sun Wen is spoiled for choice.

One of the female game’s all-time greats, the China PR legend appeared in four FIFA Women’s World Cups™. She did so with distinction, famously leading her country to the final of the 1999 edition and picking up the tournament’s adidas Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards along the way. An even more illustrious honour followed the next year, when Sun topped an internet poll to emerge as joint-winner of FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Century award.

But it was not these achievements, nor the memory of competing for the title in front of a 90,000-plus Rose Bowl crowd, that Sun identified as her greatest moment. Instead, she went back to the very start of the Women’s World Cup story - the opening match of the inaugural edition – to recall “the most unforgettable experience of my life.”

"My greatest memory from the Women's World Cup is when I participated in the first tournament in China,” she told FIFA TV. "I still remember our national anthem playing before our first match. I was so nervous that I didn't know what to do. All I could think was, 'Breathe.’ It was such an inspirational and exciting moment.”

Sun and her team-mates went on to give a performance that belied their pre-match nerves. Opponents Norway, who would go on to reach the Final and win the trophy four years later, were thrashed 4-0 in front of a delirious 65,000 crowd. The Women’s World Cup had begun in spectacular style.