If there was an onset of Matildas fever before the must-win quarter final against France, it’s now developed into full blown mania ahead of a semi-final showdown against England.
When Redcliffe’s Cortnee Vine found the back of the net in Saturday night’s epic penalty shootout, Suncorp Stadium (renamed Brisbane Stadium for the tournament) erupted, and the party started, celebrating Australian football’s finest moment.
Australia is officially mad for the Matildas and all the statistics show it. The victory over France was the highest rating broadcast on Australian TV this year, as well as setting a new record for streaming.
According to OzTAM ratings, over 4.1 million national viewers tuned into the game, with 3.69 million watching on Channel 7, along with another 472,000 on Channel 7’s streaming service 7plus.
The last time Australians were glued to their sets like this was 23 years ago, for Cathy Freeman’s gold medal run in the Sydney Olympics.
The semi-final berth now sets up an Ashes style battle with England, and a rush to setup extra live viewing sites across south east Queensland.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said council would be working to open more venues around the city for Wednesday’s semi-final. King George Square is one option, but both the Lord Mayor and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have floated the idea of opening Brisbane’s stadiums so that fans can view the game together.
It’s expected that FIFA’s official fan site at South Bank Parklands, which was at capacity for Saturdays game against France, will be extended.
On the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate confirmed that council was looking at options on the Surfers foreshore or Broadwater Parklands as public viewing sites.
Across the country fans will gather in venues as diverse as North Sydney Oval, Allianz and CommBank Stadiums in Sydney, Federation Square, Rod Laver Arena and AAMI Park in Melbourne, and Perth’s HBF Park.
Australia play England in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final on Wednesday night at 8pm. View live on Channel 7, 7plus or Optus Sport, with on demand viewing available on Optus Sport only.
96five’s Steff Willis was at the game on Saturday – check out her reaction to the winning goal in the video below!