Record breaking audience tunes in for Lionesses' quarter-final victory

World Cup semi-finals beckon for the Lionesses

It may be a quiet summer in terms of mens football compared to twelve months ago with just the Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations on our screens, whilst the U21 European Championships is edging closer to its conclusion.

Last summer we saw how the whole country came together to support England in the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Three Lions didn't go into the tournament with the biggest of expectations, but they ended up producing their best campaign since Italia '90.

Gareth Southgate's men progressed through to the semi-finals where they were agonisingly beaten by Croatia (2-1) after extra time - a result that still hurts as much now as it did then. The Three Lions brought the nation together and made everybody proud to be English, something with the women's team have managed to achieve a year on.

The Lionesses, led by former England and Manchester United man Phil Neville are currently out in France at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and just like the mens team did, they're making a huge impact.

England have qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup for just the second time in their history, with the first coincidentally coming at the previous tournament in Canada (2015). It's got fans up and down the country dreaming of a first ever title and it's been reflected in the viewing figures released by the BBC, which prove just how much the women's game is growing.

Thursday nights 3-0 win over Norway, the result which booked the Lionesses place in the semi-finals peaked at a massive 7.6m on BBC One. That is 38.6% of the available audience and that beats the record for any women's game, which was originally held by their round of sixteen victory over Cameroon last Sunday (6.9m). Massive jumps from the 6.1m who tuned in for their opener against Scotland (6.1m) on 9th June.

Phil Neville
Going all the way and lifting the World Cup would be an unbelievable achievement for Phil Neville and his players

The average match audience audience was 6.8m, with 6.02m overall. Unbelievable figures and we'd expect them to be smashed for their upcoming semi-final where they face one of tournament favourites USA or hosts France.

The Lionesses semi-final will take place on Tuesday night at the Groupama Stadium, the 59k home of Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, a fitting venue for such a big occasion.

Interest and hype surrounding the national team is at arguably the highest point its ever been and head coach Neville has labelled their success as his 'proudest moment in football'. Around 20k England fans are currently in France supporting the girls which includes Three Lions legend David Beckham, who paid the team a special visit pre-match to give them some words of encouragement.

This tournament could prove to be a major moment in the growth of the women's game, with the total TV audience already at a whopping 22.2m for the tournament. Comfortably surpassing the 12.4m who watched the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

All the figures make excellent reading and regardless of whether England go all the way, their heroics and exploits in France will certainly inspire a new generation of talent as the women's game continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Come on girls, bring it home.

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