England and Spain kicked off the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday, ending a tournament that broke records in attendance and television, and stoked hopes of a future. increased interest in girls’ games.
Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the ninth edition of the global exhibition event was the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere and broke attendance records.
While interest among locals waned as Australia was eliminated in the semi-finals, around 2 million fans will pass through the gates in the nine host cities after Sunday’s final kicks off at 8pm. 10:00 GMT).
Thousands of fans gathered around the Australia Stadium in Sydney hours before the game started on Sunday, with groups of drummers and stilts creating a festive atmosphere.
England and Spain have both entered a FIFA Women’s World Cup final for the first time, in which England have not dominated a men’s tournament since 1966.
“I feel happy, excited, but very worried, because we’ve had a lot of disappointments over the last 50 years,” England fan Michael Khoodriuth said.
Australia’s semi-final against England on Wednesday drew an average of 7.13 million viewers on the channels of local broadcaster Seven Network, the highest viewership ever recorded by research firm OzTAM, out eyes in 2001.
Matildas matches sold out months in advance, and organizers expect the average attendance to pass 30,000 once all 64 matches are completed.
The most recent Women’s World Cup in France four years ago attracted more than 1.1 spectators. million fans to 52 matches with an average audience of 21,756.
Demand was weaker in New Zealand, which was eliminated in the group stage. FIFA gave away thousands of tickets and some matches attracted just 7,000 fans, although White Ferns matches broke records for the number of football-loving spectators in the country.
Australia’s players, who lost 2-0 in a third-place tie against Sweden on Saturday, will earn $165,000 each in prize money for the tournament, more than 300 times the AU$750 amount. ($480) that they received for reaching the quarterfinals in 2015.
But at the grassroots level, the sport needs more resources, Matildas striker Sam Kerr said after Wednesday’s loss to England.
“We need to fund our growth, we need to fund our facility,” she said.
“We need funding, you know, we need funding everywhere.”
Matildas’ prominent World Cup campaign has led to calls for more support for women’s football in Australia, where it lags far behind more popular football rules such as rugby league and Australian rules.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded on Saturday by promising AU$200 million for women’s sport after Matildas’ run into the semi-finals.
The Albanian said the money would be used to improve sports facilities for women and girls, with football expected to receive “significant resources”.
The government also wants to ensure women’s sporting events are broadcast free on television, following criticism that most World Cup matches without Australia’s participation are behind a wall. pay fees.
Gadar 2 box office 9th day: Sunny Deol-starrer records the second biggest saturday of all time, towards Rs 400 crore
Prison director Nelson says his calculations were wrong in Vijay’s Beast: ‘I invested another six to seven months…’
Women’s football also faces many challenges regarding finalists England and Spain, both of which will chase their first world championships in Sydney on Sunday.
Women were banned from official facilities in England, the home of the game, until 1970, and have long since lost out to the men’s team in terms of interest and sponsorship, although that has begun to change after The Lioness won the European Championship last year.
Meanwhile, the Spain squad has been rocked by a dressing-room dispute with coach Jorge Vilda and the Spanish football federation, which has left some of their best players out of the tournament.