The Matildas have broken viewing records on their way into the hearts of the nation despite, losing the FIFA World Cup semi-final against England last night.
According to Channel 7, the match became the most-watched TV event ever in Australia, with more than 11 million people tuning in nationally. It also broke streaming records with 957,000 viewers on 7plus, doubling the previous record, which was the Matildas’s quarter-final victory last Saturday against France.
Varsity Sports Bar in Fremantle was at capacity half an hour before kick-off last night, and venue manager Saigelyn French says it’s been incredible to have such huge crowds throughout the World Cup.
“As the tournament went on I didn’t think there was going to be as much engagement as there was, but to see Australia rally around the team, the girls, and the tournament itself has been amazing,” she says.
The founder of Women in Sport WA Karen Hennessy says the support has been an eureka moment for women’s sport, and we need to maintain the momentum and backing for women’s sport.
“The most important thing now is that we don’t let it stop and that it does trickle down into funding for grassroots, and that we continue to create the Matildas’ legacy,” she says.
Lifelong football fan Jodie Porter has been to all the World Cup games held in Perth and watched the game live last night at Varsity Sports Bar in Fremantle.
She says she’s been a Perth Glory member for over six years, and the World Cup games at HBF Park have had the best atmosphere she’s ever experienced.
“The football federation here has done wonders and it’s set the bar high for the next one. Each and every football federation across the globe has to look at their women’s team differently and understand that it’s worth investing in,” Ms Porter says.
The Matildas will take on Sweden in the third-place playoff this Saturday, and after that will be playing in Perth at the end of October for the Asian Olympic qualifiers.