England’s Women’s World Cup semi-final against Australia is set to be the most watched ‘Down Under’ sporting event since the Sydney Olympics 23 years ago.
Australia beat France on penalties in the quarter-finals and interest levels will rise even higher in the coming days, with the fact that Matilda will be taking on ‘an old foe’ adding spice to an already delicious occasion.
Lionesses, from beat Colombia in the quarterfinals, you will be facing an entire nation, with the game already sold out. There are no resale tickets available on FIFA’s website, as demand far outstrips supply at the 75,000-capacity stadium that hosted the 2000 Olympic Games.
The Matildas’ quarter-final victory over France had already drawn Australia’s highest television audience for a sporting event for ten years, with an estimated over-match average of 4.17 million, and was the most broadcast event in Australian sporting history, with 472,000 viewers. on the 7 Plus.
The peak viewership for the match live on Channel Seven was 7.2 million, making it the largest television audience since Cathy Freeman’s 400m final at the Sydney Olympics. The event reportedly drew 8.8 million viewers and this week’s semi-final could push that record close again.
What and when?
The match starts at 11am UK time on Wednesday 16th August (8pm local time in Sydney).
The other semi-final will be between Spain and Sweden on Tuesday at 9am UK time. There will be a new name on the World Cup when the final takes place on Sunday at 11am UK time.
Where is the match being played?
The semi-final match between England and Australia will take place at the Australia Stadium in Sydney, with the final taking place on Sunday 20 August.
How do you watch
Broadcasting rights for the Women’s World Cup are shared between the BBC and ITV. England’s quarter-final victory was broadcast by ITV but the BBC has the rights to broadcast both semi-finals.
What does England say?
By Luke Edwards in Sydney
Lorraine Hemp has warned England’s historic rivals that Lionesses are “unstoppable” at their best.
Hemp is well aware of the sporting traditions between the two countries and the England players would love to be able to spoil the tournament for their hosts in Sydney.
Interestingly, in both the round-of-16 match against Nigeria in Brisbane and again in the quarter-final against Colombia, most of the Australians in the crowd seemed to be cheering for the England opponents. This has motivated the England players to push on and they will need to show all their personal strength to deny the home team a place in the final.
“We all feel really confident, Australia – bring it on,” Hemp told ITV after the match. “It’s going to be a packed stadium with a lot of Australian fans, but we know that if we play at our best we can’t be stopped, so hopefully we can make it happen.”
Captain Millie Bright echoed those sentiments, insisting that England would be successful playing in front of partisan home crowds.
“The atmosphere was great, but as players we want to, we want stadiums that run out of capacity, we want the atmosphere to be tense out there,” said Bright. “As a player you thrive on that and that for me is adrenaline.
“For me, the fans aside, you’re actually very proud of that as well. We want that in the World Cup, we want to have people turn on the TV and say, ‘Oh my God, look at the crowd, it’s unbelievable.'”
“As a player you feel that and use it to your advantage as well, it’s no shame that there are so many Australian fans out there.”
Lucy Bruns predicts that partisan support will affect Australia, for better or for worse.
“There are pros and cons to being that home country and being the team against them,” Bruns said.
“It can be a lot of pressure to put pressure on teams. I remember playing Canada (who were hosts) in 2015 and there was a lot of pressure on that team giving them a lot of fighting.
“It was the same for us at Euros last year. Twelfth man as they say – he really helped us. He was a key part of our victory and I think that was a key part for Australia when they had their backs against the wall in this tournament. It’s going to be another rowdy occasion and we’re looking forward to it.” “.
Who is in the England squad?
Goalkeepers: Marie Erbes (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Eli Roebuck (Manchester City)
Defenders: Miley Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Lute Woopen Mooy (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Laura Combs (Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Ton (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona), Katie Zelm (Manchester United).
Attackers: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Bethany England (Tottenham Hotspur), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Katie Robinson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Alicia Russo (Manchester United)
What do Australians say?
Australia was an enthusiastic host of the tournament, with such ticket sales making the Women’s World Cup the most attended ever. But the fact that Team Matildas have progressed so far in the competition, having needed to win their final group match against Canada to qualify for the knockout stages, has captured the imagination of a sports-mad nation like never before.
“Even before it was over, it was in all its unnerving glory, as one of the great Australian sporting events of all time,” said prominent Australian sports writer Robert Craddock of Matilda’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over France in the quarter-finals.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has promised to grant a national holiday if the Matildas beat England and go on to lift the trophy in next Sunday’s final.
What are the odds?
England’s return to win the World Cup with Women’s World Cup betting offers and free bets.