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Women’s World Cup sets crowd records in New Zealand

The Women’s World Cup gave the sport a huge boost in co-hosts New Zealand where new attendance records were set, the head of the country’s football governing body said.

Spain’s thrilling 2-1 semi-final victory over Sweden on Tuesday was watched by a sellout crowd of 43,217 at Auckland’s Eden Park — equalling the highest attendance for a men’s or women’s match in New Zealand.

With the remaining Women’s World Cup games taking place in Australia, football officials reported more than 700,000 fans attended the 29 matches staged in New Zealand.

“This tournament has seen a colossal change in the way football, and particularly women’s football, is seen in New Zealand,” said Andrew Pragnell, chief executive of New Zealand Football.

The attendance record was first broken on the opening day of the tournament when 42,137 saw New Zealand beat Norway in Auckland. 

It was surpassed when Spain’s last-16 win over Switzerland and Sweden’s quarter-final victory over Japan both drew capacity crowds of 43,217 to Eden Park, a figure matched at Tuesday’s semi-final.

“From the historic opening game at Eden Park which saw the Football Ferns beat Norway, this tournament has set a new standard for the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Pragnell.

The country also hosted women’s cricket and rugby World Cups in 2022 proving, Pragnell said, that New Zealand can “deliver world-class major events”.

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