England success 'tipping point' for women's game

Monday 29 Jun 2015
England celebrate their World Cup quarter final win over Canada

England’s historic run to the semi-finals of Canada 2015 could prove a “tipping point” for women’s football, said The FA’s Kelly Simmons.

Over 1.5m fans tuned in to BBC One at midnight on Saturday to watch Mark Sampson’s side knock out the World Cup hosts and set up their first-ever appearance in the last four.

The Lionesses’ opener against France attracted 2.6m viewers, with subsequent Group F matches against Mexico and Colombia watched by 1.9m and 2.3m respectively. The round of 16 victory over Norway drew 2m viewers.

England v Japan

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
12am BST, Thursday 2 July
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Canada
Live on BBC One

The team have been overwhelmed with supportive messages on social media - from former England men’s captain David Beckham and current skipper Wayne Rooney to Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.

Simmons, FA director of women’s football, told BBC Sport: "It feels like the nation has fallen in love with the Lionesses.

“It’s a tipping point as many millions have got behind them.”

England take on World Cup holders Japan in the semi-final in the early hours of Thursday morning, with another bumper audience expected to watch on BBC One.

Simmons hopes England’s success in Canada translates across the women’s game – from attendances at FA WSL matches and The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 1 August, to an increase in participation levels. 

She added: "Everyone is really proud of the England Women's team, awareness levels have never been higher surrounding the quality of women's football and all the work that has gone into helping them get where they are now - which is competing at the very top.

"Hopefully that will translate into people getting behind those players when they play for their clubs in the Women's Super League and the European Championship qualifiers."

By Glenn Lavery in Edmonton, Canada