After a month of competition, the curtain falls on the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This Sunday (at 6:00 a.m. in Chile), the grand final of the Australia-New Zealand World Cup between Spain and England will take place in Sydney.
The Spaniards want to aim for something unprecedented, which only Brazil has achieved at the male level (between 2002 and 2003): becoming reigning world champions in the U17, U20, and absolute categories. For their part, the English are striving for global dominance as they are the last European champions. Regardless of the result, the champions will reach a milestone that only Germany achieves today: winning the world championship for both men and women.
An edition comes to an end that produces a series of milestones that take women’s football to another dimension. Gianni Infantino himself, FIFA President, declared this at Thursday’s Women’s Football Convention: “What we have seen so far, and the best is yet to come, is simply the greatest and best FIFA Women’s World Cup in history.”
Since its inception, the competition has represented a break from previous editions, being held in two countries and involving 32 teams. The result of this bet in terms of activity growth was satisfactory. This is shown by the audience indices in the stadiums. For example, Spain’s victory over Sweden in the semi-finals on Tuesday drew 43,217 spectators at Auckland’s Eden Park, the highest attendance ever recorded at a New Zealand football match, male or female. In this country alone, 700,000 fans were present worldwide.
In the case of Australia, too, there has been a significant increase. 75,784 people were counted in the semi-final between the Matildas and England in Sydney. There are two games left (third place and the final) before the World Cup finishes, and ticket sales are expected to reach 1.98 million visitors. A total of 1,853,029 spectators attended the 62 games played. The average is almost 30,000 fans per game. This surpassed the previous record of 1.35 million at Canada 2015 (an average of 26,000 people per game).
As remarkable as the number of viewers in the stadiums is, the number of viewers on television is also extraordinary. The opening match between New Zealand and Norway was watched by more than a million people in the host country, more than any other match in the Men’s World Cup. In North America, the USA’s elimination by Sweden attracted 2.5 million viewers on Fox, peaking at 4.07 million. In South America, more than 9 million Colombians watched their team play South Korea, 300% more than the previous record for a Women’s World Cup match.
According to FIFA, this World Cup generated over US$570 million in revenue. “We generate the second-highest revenue of any sport in the world except the Men’s World Cup,” Infantino said. In addition, entries and prize money have been increased to $152 million. In two editions since 2015, the number has been multiplied by 10.
The fact that the World Championship grew in number allowed new players to enter the arena, providing more than one surprise. This happened with teams like Nigeria, Jamaica, South Africa, and Morocco. Those four eliminated Canada, Brazil, Italy, and Germany from the group stage, respectively. Africa was happy as three of its representatives made it through to the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Colombia sided with South America. Conmebol came to the World Cup with three teams, and the only ones who made it through the group stage were the coffee growers, who made it through to the historic quarterfinals. The real name that shone was Linda Caicedo (18). The talented Real Madrid striker, category 2005, scored two goals in the competition.