Mesmerizing photos of the Women’s World Cup, which was filled with fierce competition, talented players, and historic moments

Former US goalkeeper Briana Scurry said that the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament was like a tree falling in a forest with no one around. “It happened,” the 1999 champion said. “But nobody saw or heard it.”

In 2019, the United States Women’s National Team is making sure everyone hears them.

Team USA has been spearheading the conversation and leading a push for gender equality in global women’s football leagues. But while we’ve been hearing from the American women as they continue on their 2019 world cup victory tour, they aren’t the only ones from the tournament who are pushing for change.

Team Chile has been fighting for national recognition for several years. By 2016, FIFA had assigned an “inactive” status to 10 national teams across South America after they were neglected by their teams’ governing bodies – the status effectively revoked any world ranking they had worked to achieve, and this recent tournament was their first time on the global stage.

Teams under the Confederation of African Football have been fighting against a leader who has been accused of “corruption and sexual harassment.” Teams Cameroon, Nigeria, and South Africa are all part of the CAF and participated in the 2019 tournament.

Similar issues stretch across the entire globe: Women’s football was actually illegal in Brazil until 1981; some girls in the UK aren’t allowed to play soccer in gym class, according to a 2018 article by The Guardian; Team Nigeria won the 2016 African Women’s Cup of Nations, and they staged a sit-in at their hotel demanding “unpaid salaries and bonuses” after their win.

The list goes on.

As more and more national teams fight for equality, professionals hope opportunities for women to play – and subsequently, the level of women’s play – around the world increases.

This year’s Women’s World Cup proved to be filled with talented players and fierce competition, and the tournament was an important moment for all of them.

Take a look at some of the best photos capturing mesmerizing moments from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


The United States defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the championship round of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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Captain, Carli Lloyd, lifted the championship trophy for her team.
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Richard Heathcote/Staff/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


The victory marks the second consecutive win on this global stage for the US Women’s National Team. While Team USA was expected to win the tournament, the scoreboard below shows the score of their mind-boggling blowout during the group stage round — which includes games played before the elimination round.

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The final scoreboard seen here in Reims, France, is missing a goal scored in the 85th minute by Mallory Pugh and the final goal scored in the 92nd minute by Carli Lloyd.
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Robert Cianflone/Staff/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, NBC Sports


This World Cup was an opportunity for the US team to defend their championship title, but it also provided a stage for them — and teams from around the world — to fight for greater causes like equal pay and equal opportunity. The teams rallied fans and celebrities behind them.

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Fans brought “equal pay” signs to France, seen above, and to the ticker tape parade in New York City.
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Marc Atkins/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Photos from the World Cup gave us a peek behind-the-scenes at the champions’ post-match celebration. This is how Team USA partied in the locker room after their win!

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Mallory Pugh danced in celebration with her teammates.
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Maddie Meyer – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Photographers also gave us a fascinating view of what was going on the field throughout the tournament, too. That includes a closer look at how Team USA captain, Carli Lloyd, fought for highly contested balls.

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Team USA’s Lloyd has quick feet and holds onto the ball through a three-on-one challenge.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

That was far from the most intense competition, though. Photographers captured some of the most painful-looking moments of the tournament, like the time Team USA’s Morgan Brian went up for a header against Claudia Soto of Chile …

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This looks slightly reminiscent of a scene from “Titanic.”
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Marianna Massey – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… or the moment Busisiwe Ndimeni of South Africa challenged Team Germany’s Lina Magull for the ball and wound up on her back.

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Players often hold their hands up to show that contact wasn’t intentional.
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Maja Hitij/Staff/Getty Images

We also saw this head-to-head collision that happened when Marina Hegering of Germany went up for a header against Spain’s Nahikari Garcia …

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It looks like Hegering was heading Garcia’s head instead of the ball.
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Robert Cianflone/Staff/Getty Images

… this break-dancing-type move performed by Team Scotland’s Kim Little when Aldana Cometti of Argentina challenged her for possession …

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Little looks like she was breaking out some dance moves.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… another awkward twisting of limbs by Melanie Leupolz of Germany after she collided with Team China’s Li Yang …

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Leupolz and Yang got tangled up on this one.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… this not-so-fun-looking game of leapfrog between Tierna Davidson of the US and Daniela Zamora of Chile …

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Team USA won this game 3-0.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… and the time Annette Ngo Ndom, the goalkeeper for Team Cameroon, got pinned between two of her own teammates while making a save.

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All three were trying to play great defense.
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Elsa/Staff/Getty Images

There were plenty of impeccably-timed shots of high-fliers captured mid-air, too. This photographer snapped their lens at the perfect moment to get Team France’s Valerie Gauvin hovering over the ground, perpendicular to Onome Ebi of Nigeria, who is also mid-leap.

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Gauvin’s foot came pretty close to Ebi’s face.
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Marianna Massey – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Lucia Garcia of Spain was caught mid-victory leap as she celebrated scoring a goal against South Africa.

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She’s got some pep in that step!
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Matthew Lewis – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

And one photographer caught Griedge Mbock Bathy of France almost perfectly horizontal in the middle of a bicycle kick toward the goal in a game against Team Korea Republic.

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You can really see the precision in her form.
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Alex Grimm/Staff/Getty Images

Nikita Parris of England took flight as she celebrated her goal in the early stages of the tournament.

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Parris caught a lot of air on this jump.
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Hannah Peters – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Just as photographers captured players on their way up, they also got them on their way down. Javiera Toro of Chile challenged Sofia Jakobsson of Sweden, which ended in Jakobsson toppling over her opponent.

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It looks like Jakobsson’s knee is headed straight for Toro’s face.
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Richard Heathcote/Staff/Getty Images

Alexandra Popp of Germany came crashing down over her teammate Marina Hegering after the two collided in their game against Spain.

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Popp is rolling right off of her teammate’s back.
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Robert Cianflone/Staff/Getty Images

Some of the photos have mesmerizing symmetry, like this photo from the Jamaica vs. Australia match. Steph Catley of Australia and Cheyna Matthews of Jamaica look like they’re mirroring each other’s bodies.

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They’re mirroring each other almost exactly.
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Naomi Baker – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

The same can be said for the positioning of Kadidiatou Diani of France and Sohyun Cho of Korea Republic.

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Diani fights for the ball even while on the ground.
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Robert Cianflone/Staff/Getty Images

Tournament photographers also captured some moments that showed the complete joy of one team and the deep heartbreak of the other, like this photo taken after the final whistle during the match between Team Sweden and Team Netherlands.

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Team Netherlands won this game 1-0.
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Elsa/Staff/Getty Images

Team USA’s Carli Lloyd roars after scoring against Chile, while a member of Team Chile looks defeated in the background.

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Lloyd scored two goals in this game against Chile — which made her the first player to score in six consecutive world cup games.
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Marianna Massey – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Another photographer captured Jodie Taylor and Beth Mead of England celebrating a goal while the Team Argentina goalkeeper lays face down with her head in her hands.

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Team Argentina is fighting to get more money from its national federation.
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Marc Atkins/Stringer/Getty Images

Spectators can feel the energy after a goal or a win when they’re watching in person or on TV, but some photographers were able to capture that emotion through their photos. We feel the excitement through this photographer’s lens as Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter of Team Australia celebrate their win over Team Brazil.

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Celebrations are always high-energy during the world cup.
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Michael Regan/Staff/Getty Images

And another photo has us welling up over the Team Brazil goal that took place earlier in the same game.

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Women in Brazil weren’t allowed to play soccer until 1981.
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Elsa/Staff/Getty Images

We want to scream out with Jackie Groenen of the Netherlands …

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Team Netherlands finished second in the tournament.
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Cathrin Mueller – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… cry with this Team France fan after their quarterfinal loss to Team USA …

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After a match, viewers can see players run to their friends and family in the stands.
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Matthew Lewis – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… and rush toward Alyssa Naeher with her teammates after she stopped a penalty kick taken by England.

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This was Naeher’s breakout moment of the 2019 world cup.
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Richard Heathcote/Staff/Getty Images

Aside from capturing the action on the field …

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Photographers took loads of perfectly-timed shots like this one.
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Elsa/Staff/Getty Images

… tournament photographers also showed us the beautiful views that surrounded the stadiums in France. This shot makes us feel like we’re sitting in the stands at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France.

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The view looks stunning.
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Naomi Baker – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

We got to see the stunning sunset sky outside Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France …

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Teams played under this mesmerizing sunset.
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Richard Heathcote/Staff/Getty Images

… and the distant, snow-capped mountains outside the stadium in Grenoble.

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It was hot on the field, but snowing not too far away.
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Naomi Baker – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

The snow may make you think the teams were playing in cooler weather, but temperatures on the ground were actually climbing past 90 degrees. And we can see there was little to no shade on the field.

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Weather protocols were put into place so players didn’t overheat.
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Naomi Baker – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Accuweather, Accuweather, ESPN


And rain wasn’t out of the question either — it’s hard to tell when it’s raining on TV, but this photographer shows us just how hard it was coming down during the Group F match between Chile and Sweden in Rennes, France. The rain was so intense it caused a game delay.

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The game was paused in the 73rd minute.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: FOX Sports, Pro Soccer USA


Between capturing fan moments, like this Team Japan fan picking up litter among a sea of red bleacher seats after a match between Japan and Scotland …

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Some fans dress in costume for the games.
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Catherine Ivill – FIFA/Contributor/Getty Images

… and gloves to the face, like during this match between Team France and Team Korea Republic …

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The French player took a glove to the nose.
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Richard Heathcote/Staff/Getty Images

… we think it’s safe to say the photographers of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup are MVPs themselves.

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Even the shadows on the field make for a beautiful photo.
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Laurence Griffiths/Staff/Getty Images