Women's World Cup

How Women's World Cup champions have fared when defending title

The USWNT is chasing a three-peat at the 2023 Women's World Cup

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The FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy is back up for grabs, and so is a chance at history for the U.S. women’s national team.

The Americans enter this year’s competition as the two-time defending tournament champions. Their 2019 triumph made them just the second team to ever win back-to-back Women’s World Cups, and now they are seeking the first ever Women’s World Cup three-peat.

Defending champions have a strong track record when it comes to reaching the ensuing semifinals, but after that only a select few have reached the final, let alone win it.

Let’s examine how every Women’s World Cup winner followed up their title at the following competition.

1991 Women’s World Cup winner: United States

1995 Women’s World Cup result: Third place

The USWNT’s first run at repeating came to an end in 1995 when it lost to eventual champion Norway in the semifinals. The Americans settled for third place after beating China in the ensuing consolation match.

1995 Women’s World Cup winner: Norway

1999 Women’s World Cup result: Fourth place

Similar to the USWNT, Norway’s quest to defend its Women’s World Cup title concluded in the semifinals. Norway was steamrolled 5-0 by China in the semifinals and lost to Brazil on penalties in the third place match.

1999 Women’s World Cup winner: United States

2003 Women’s World Cup result: Third place

The USWNT entered the 2003 Women’s World Cup as defending champions and once again placed third. Germany handed the USWNT a 3-0 semifinal defeat on American soil, and the host country bounced back with a 3-1 win over Canada in the third-place match.

2003 Women’s World Cup winner: Germany

2007 Women’s World Cup result: Winner

Germany made history in 2007 by becoming the first country to win consecutive Women’s World Cups. The team cemented its repeat by beating Brazil 2-0 in the final and finished the tournament by outscoring its opponents 21-0 across six matches. 

2007 Women’s World Cup winner: Germany

2011 Women’s World Cup result: Lost in quarterfinals

Germany started out the 2011 Women’s World Cup strong on home soil, winning all three of its group stage games. The team’s three-peat attempt then came to a stunning end after conceding a goal in added extra time of its quarterfinal match against Japan.

2011 Women’s World Cup winner: Japan

2015 Women’s World Cup result: Second place

Speaking of Japan, the team went on to win it all in 2011 after defeating the USWNT on penalty kicks in the final. Japan was on the verge of a second consecutive title, but the USWNT turned the tables in the final four years later. 

2015 Women’s World Cup winner: United States

2019 Women’s World Cup result: Winner

After getting revenge against Japan in the 2015 final, the USWNT was on a mission to repeat in 2019. The Americans completed that mission by winning all seven matches, capping the run off with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.

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