Opening match of the Fifa Women’s World Cup between the Football Ferns New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park Auckland Hannah Wilkinson scores for New Zealand New Zealand Herald photograph by Michael Craig 20 July 2023
Tens of thousands of sports fans – young and old alike – have been packing into New Zealand sporting grounds to soak up all the action for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch Women’s World Cup action.
That included a bumper 41,000 at yesterday’s USA v Vietnam match at Eden Park, played just two days after more than 42,000 packed it out for the Football Ferns’ tournament-opening upset over Norway.
But fans who have secured tickets to Wellington Regional Stadium for the Football Ferns’ second pool-play match against the Philippines on Tuesday should think about packing raincoats and beanies with rain had strong winds forecast.
An impressive 30,000 tickets have been sold already for the match set to kick-off at 5.30pm.
MetService meteorologist Gerard Bellam said the day should be mainly fine but rain will develop at night and unfortunately, there may be some rain during the match.
“Southerlies will turn North-Westerlies during the day with a high of 14 degrees.”
However, Bellam says no heavy rain or strong winds like at Friday night’s Spain vs Costa Rica match in Wellington are predicted.
History was made on Thursday when a 48th-minute Hannah Wilkson goal meant the Football Ferns beat Norway 1-0 and marked their first victory at a World Cup.
If they beat the Philippines, New Zealand now has a chance to make it through to the Round of 16 if other results go their way.
According to Fifa, 39.2 per cent of New Zealanders tuned in across Sky TV and various free-to-air options for the opening 1-0 win over Norway, stating it is the highest TV audience for a football match in this country for more than 20 years.
That would put it above the All Whites’ second leg victory over Bahrain in 2009 in Wellington which booked the New Zealand men’s side their first World Cup appearance since 1982.
In spite of fears of low ticket sales, New Zealand football fans have been turning out in numbers to watch the matches.
More than 42,000 people attended the tournament opener vs Norway – the largest number to have watched a football match in New Zealand’s history.
Following their victory, the remaining tickets for their next two games in Wellington and Dunedin were snapped up by excited fans within minutes of the final whistle on Thursday night.
Nearly 14,000 people saw Switzerland beat the Philippines in Dunedin on Friday evening, while nearly 23,000 football braved the cold and wet Wellington Friday night to watch Spain comfortably beat Costa Rica.
Just over 41,000 people watched the reigning champions the USA beat Vietnam at Eden Park yesterday.
This means nearly 120,000 people have attended the first four have been to the opening four matches in New Zealand.
In other games across the country, Sweden will take on South Africa in Wellington at 5 pm this afternoon, while Italy will play Argentina tomorrow at 6 pm at Eden Park in Auckland.
Meanwhile, those watching Italy and Argentina should experience a fine day and evening in Auckland, with a high of 16 degrees while fans watching the other two teams in New Zealand’s group – Switzerland and Norway – at Waikato stadium at 8 pm Tuesday should experience similar weather.