|1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&Ms Cup|
|Teams||12 (from 6 confederations)|
|Venue(s)||6 (in 4 host cities)|
|Goals scored||99 (3.81 per match)|
|Attendance||510,000 (19,615 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Michelle Akers-Stahl|
|Best player(s)||Carin Jennings|
|Fair play award||Germany|
The 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup was the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It took place in Guangdong, China from 16 to 30 November 1991. FIFA, football's international governing body selected China as host nation as Guangdong had hosted a prototype world championship three years earlier, the 1988 FIFA Women's Invitation Tournament. Matches were played in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, as well as in Foshan, Jiangmen and Zhongshan. The competition was sponsored by Mars, Incorporated, maker of M&M's candy. With FIFA still reluctant to bestow their "World Cup" brand, the tournament was officially known as the 1st FIFA World Championship for Women's Football for the M&M's Cup.
It was won by the United States, whose captain April Heinrichs formed a forward line dubbed the "triple-edged sword" with Carin Jennings and Michelle Akers-Stahl. Jennings was named player of the tournament while Akers-Stahl's ten goals won the Golden Shoe. The United States defeated Norway 2-1 in the final in front of a crowd of 65,000 people at Guangzhou's Tianhe Stadium. Total attendance for the tournament was 510,000, an average per match of 19,615. In the opening match at the same stadium, Norway was defeated 4-0 by hosts China. Chinese defender Ma Li scored the first goal in Women's World Cup history, while goalkeeper Zhong Honglian, also of China, posted the first official "clean sheet" in the tournament.
The 12 qualified teams were divided into three groups of four (A to C). The top two teams and the two best third-place finishers from the three groups advanced to the knockout round of eight teams. For only the first edition of the Women's World Cup, all matches lasted only 80 minutes, instead of the typical 90, and two points were awarded for a win (both of which would change in 1995).
|Yuexiu, Guangzhou||Tianhe, Guangzhou||Panyu, Guangzhou|
|Guangdong Provincial Stadium||Tianhe Stadium||Ying Tung Stadium|
|Capacity: 25,000||Capacity: 60,000||Capacity: 15,000|
|New Plaza Stadium||Jiangmen Stadium||Zhongshan Stadium|
|Capacity: 14,000||Capacity: 13,000||Capacity: 12,000|
Twelve teams qualified for the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup final tournament. Each of the six FIFA confederations had at least one representative.
For a list of the squads that contended for the final tournament, see 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup squads.
For the first time in FIFA competition, six female officials were included. All functioned as assistant referees, except for Cláudia Vasconcelos who took charge of the third place play-off; becoming the first woman to referee a match sanctioned by FIFA.
FIFA's technical report demonstrates that, after the tournament, players and officials were undecided whether to persist with 80 minute matches, or to change to 90 minutes in line with men's football. Opinion was also divided about the suitability of using a size five football. Some teams reported difficulty in sourcing good quality equipment in the correct size.
"As president of FIFA it was a special pleasure for me to watch these young ladies playing with such flair and such elegance, and according to the reports of the many media representatives present, making the game truly into a celebration ... women's football is now well and truly established."
The perceived success of the tournament was a significant factor in the subsequent inclusion of women's football in the 1996 Summer Olympics.Sue Lopez reported that although attendances were very high, many tickets were complimentary. The "novelty factor" of women from foreign lands playing football also encouraged local people to attend.
The draw for the group stage was held on 14 September 1991 at the Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou, China. The draw was part of a televised two-hour live show, featuring songs in both Chinese and English from the female singers Zhang Qiang (Beijing), Lin Ping (Guangzhou), Jenny Tseng (Hong Kong) and Irene Yeh (Taiwan).
Teams were awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw, and none for a defeat.
|1||China PR (H)||3||2||1||0||10||3||+7||5||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||United States||3||3||0||0||11||2||+9||6||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||Germany||3||3||0||0||9||0||+9||6||Advance to knockout stage|
|1||A||Denmark||3||1||1||1||6||4||+2||3||Advance to knockout stage|
|24 November - Guangzhou (Tianhe)|
|27 November - Guangzhou (Ying Tung)|
|24 November - Jiangmen|
|30 November - Guangzhou (Tianhe)|
|24 November - Zhongshan|
|27 November - Guangzhou (Provincial)|
|24 November - Foshan|
|United States||5||Third place play-off|
|29 November - Guangzhou (Provincial)|
1 own goal
Source: FIFA Technical Report
The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament:
|Golden Ball||Silver Ball||Bronze Ball|
|Carin Jennings||Michelle Akers-Stahl||Linda Medalen|
|Golden Shoe||Silver Shoe||Bronze Shoe|
|Michelle Akers-Stahl||Heidi Mohr|| Linda Medalen|
|10 goals||7 goals||6 goals|
|FIFA Fair Play Award|
|5||A||China PR (H)||4||2||1||1||10||4||+6||5||Eliminated in|
Some of the terms and conditions had been changed this time: 90 minutes of play instead of 80 in China, a full group of 20 players instead of 18, three points for a win, and the experiment with time out.
In keeping with the true spirit of the celebration, six female referees or assistant referees were appointed among match officials for the first time in FIFA history. Claudia de Vasconcelos of Brazil, the referee for the 3rd-place match, became the first woman to officiate at this level for FIFA.