Record crowd expected for Ferns’ opening game at FIFA Women’s World Cup

Up to 43,000 are expected to fill Auckland’s Eden Park for the opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup — a record attendance for any football match in New Zealand.

The opening night of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Thursday is set to break attendance records on both sides of the Tasman Sea.

The opening match in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau between the Football Ferns and Norway is expected to surpass the host nation’s previous biggest crowd for an international football match (37,000), set when the All Whites played Peru in 2017.

It is also expected to more than treble the largest crowd ever for the Football Ferns, which came in January this year when 12,721 fans turned out to see Jitka Klimková’s side play the United States at Eden Park.

Main photo: A record crowd went to Eden Park in January to get behind the Football Ferns.

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The attendance is announced at Eden Park when the previous record was set. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / Phototek.

Meanwhile, Australian fans will also beat their record crowd for a women’s football match, which was set only a few days ago when 50,629 fans attended the Matildas warm-up match against France in Melbourne/Naarm.

This record figure is expected to be substantially surpassed when Australia kicks off their campaign against the Republic of Ireland at the 75,784-seater Stadium Australia in Sydney/Wangal.

“It will be an epic opening night with over 100,000 fans attending a women’s football match at the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup held in the southern hemisphere,” says Sarai Bareman, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer.

She said: “It will set the tone for a FIFA Women’s World Cup that I expect to become a watershed moment in global women’s sports – not only from an attendance perspective, but way beyond that, when it comes to developing the game globally and celebrating female empowerment.”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada was attended by 1,353,506 spectators, but a few days out from the opening match the ticket sales for this year’s tournament have now surpassed that figure, with close to 1.4 million tickets now sold.

The spread of those tickets also affirms the increased global nature of women’s football, as fans residing in a staggering 182 different countries have purchased their tickets and are planning to head down under.

Aside from the two hosts, the top ten countries for ticket sales are the United States, England, Qatar, China PR, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and Nigeria.

“Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia are not close to many of the countries competing in the tournament, but it is wonderful to see that people have decided to travel from every corner of the globe to be part of this celebration of women’s football,” Bareman said.

Whatever seat fans have purchased, Bareman reminded all fans to download the official FIFA Women’s World Cup mobile ticketing app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store to access their tickets.

“It is important that fans get the app on their phone as the tickets cannot be printed or downloaded. You need to present the ticket on your mobile phone to enter the stadium, so make sure your phone is fully charged. Like a player that prepares for a big match, we count on fans to get ready ahead of going to the stadium and familiarise themselves with the ticketing app, the transportation options, and the prohibited items list – besides supporting their team, this is another great way to contribute to the spectacle.”

Fans who may need assistance with the app or accessing their tickets are advised to look for the spectator services volunteers at the stadium. If a ticket holder has bought tickets for friends or family, those can be shared in advance, so they have it on their own mobile phones.

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