Sunday night was more than just a glimpse of the near future when it comes to the United States women's national team. In the 6-0 win over Belgium in an international friendly in California, fans also got the chance to honor the past. The women's team that won the 1999 World Cup was honored before the game in a lovely ceremony. Familiar faces like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chaistain, Kristine Lilly and Michelle Akers were all there nearly 20 years after conquering the world and changing the landscape of the sport for young girls, with fans paying tribute before the second-hald kickoff. Take a look at the scenes:
The 1999 tournament, which the U.S. hosted and captured its second title, was arguably the launching point for the rising popularity in women's soccer in America, and it produced an iconic moment that brought Brandi Chastain into stardom.
The U.S. cruised through the group stage, edged Germany in the quarterfinals and blanked Brazil in the semifinals before quite the test from China in the final. The Chinese squad had conceded just two goals in five games entering the final, and they went the entire knockout stage without conceding a single goal. The final went to extra time and penalty kicks after finishing 0-0. Chastain scored the winning penalty kick before ripping her jersey off and pumping her fist in the air in celebration.
There were even big-time celebrities in attendance to see the game such as Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria:
It was quite the night for the U.S., celebrating history and a victory. Carli Lloyd scored twice, while Alex Morgan, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan and Jessica McDonald also scored, with the U.S. defense allowing no shots on goal.
The U.S. returns to action in May with two friendlies, which you can watch on fuboTV (Try for free). The U.S. will face South Africa on May 12 and New Zealand on May 16.