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Brandi Chastain revisits her legendary World Cup penalty kick

Larry King NowAug 12 '16

Legendary American soccer player Brandi Chastain tells Larry exactly what went through her mind seconds prior to kicking her iconic, game-winning penalty shot in the 1999 World Cup finals.

King: Okay what happened? 1999, you kicked that. What went through your mind on that shot?

Chastain: Well leading up to that whole tournament, and you know we did a lot of training, preparation, you know looking at the opponents that we would play. You know the different game plans, and ultimately what happened prior to that kick was I went back to earlier in the year we played China, and in the run of play if there was ever a penalty kick I would be the person to take it. So Mia Hamm was chopped down in the box. We get a penalty kick. I step up, I take the ball from the referee, and as I place the ball down there in front of me is standing the goalkeeper. So we're like two boxers in the middle of the ring. Now this is very unusual. The goal keeper normally stays on the line and prepares her or his-

King: Why was she so close? Chastain: Ah, 'cause she was a quirky character. Goalkeepers are a little bit off, you know. They're different than all the other players on the field, but, you know, she did something to her advantage. She got me out of my rhythm, and she kind of gave me a smile and a wink, and I wasn't focused the way I should have been. Referee blew the whistle, I shot the ball. It hit the crossbar, went out. We ended up losing that game. Fast forward to the World Cup Final in the Rose Bowl, and the only thing going through my head was don't look at the goalkeeper, because I didn't want to give her that chance again to do what she did. King: Did she come forward again?

Chastain: No, she didn't come forward again. But later on she was interviewed and asked about that moment, and she said the reason she found it so difficult against us and in those five kicks was that nobody would look her in the eye, and she didn't get an advantage. So I was like yes! I was thankful that she had done that earlier.

King: What made you take your shirt off?

Chastain: I have no idea. You know that moment – that moment where you've probably thought about it as a kid, but only in like oh you know, three two one and you shoot the last one, or you hit the last home run, and it's a walk off. Or, you know as a kid I had those moments on the playground, but never did I see myself ever winning the World Cup. And so when it happened there's this rush of emotion and adrenaline and relief and joy that you can't one anticipate, and you surely can't define. That, just – it comes over you. And I think it was just a moment of great satisfaction. I was super happy the game was over, and that we had won. And maybe in the back of my mind, like we were talking about baseball a little bit, you know you've seen maybe some of the players at it in that when you're younger player do that in celebration and maybe that was a part of it but it was extreme joy, extreme happiness.