"It's cool we've completely written our own story," Cheney said. "Maybe we're not the favorites. Maybe people doubted us. But we have pure hearts and determination, and we believe in each other so much."
And no one is prouder than the members of that '99 team.
"How could you not be proud of way they fought and found a way against Brazil?" DiCicco asked. "We have a chance here to be the first country to win three World Cups. We think the team is in good hands."
The core of the 1999 team was together for more than a decade, and those bonds have remained tight over the last 12 years. With Foudy, DiCicco, Chastain, Hamm and Briana Scurry all here working for ESPN, and Kristine Lilly turning up at games as a fan, the World Cup has turned into something of a reunion tour.
As they marvel at what the Americans are doing, they can't help but cherish their own accomplishments all over again.
"Sitting down together and reliving stories and laughing, this is what I feel is so special about the experience we had," Chastain said. "This is what these players will be able to do 10 years, 20 years down the line. It'll be a very special time in their lives. I love the fact that they're going to say, 'We did that.' That's very, very precious."
Though the '99 players will always have a presence with any U.S. team, captain Christie Rampone is the last one still on the field. She was still known as Christie Pearce back in 1999, just three years into her career with the national team. Now 36 and at the end of her career, she knows it won't be long before some youngster comes along eager to escape her shadow.
That's simply how life goes, on and off the field.
"It's been an honor to play for both teams. To start my career winning a World Cup and to end it winning one would be absolutely amazing," Rampone said. "It's been special to be part of both. I was inspired by the old girls, the veterans in '99, and now these young kids are inspiring me to get through this and win this one."
Women's World Cup
United States vs. Japan
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