The heir to the British crown, Prince William, and German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Olaf Scholz) on the podium, packed to capacity at the legendary London Wembley Stadium – the Mecca of European and world football – who could have imagined this a few years ago, talking about women’s football. Especially in the UK where women’s football as a sport was officially banned until 1971.
What was the victory of the “lionesses”
But the 2022 European Championship, which ended on July 31 in the UK with the home team’s victory over the eight-time continental champions Germany, broke many records, becoming a true turning point in the history of world women’s football.
The victory of the “lionesses” – as the players of the women’s team are called in England, on the shirts of which the 150-year-old logo of the country’s football association is depicted – three lions on a heraldic shield – 87,192 spectators watched from the Wembley stands, according to the official protocol.
And if we count accredited journalists, security personnel, stadium workers, members of the delegations of both teams, then we can assume a much larger figure. And it was an absolute record for the attendance of the final matches of the European Championship for more than 60 years of history of men’s and almost 40 years of history of women’s tournaments. The previous achievement was set in 1964, when 79,115 spectators at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid witnessed the victory of the Spaniards (2:1) over the USSR national team.
Euro 2022 sparked huge growth audience not only in stadiums, but also on TV screens. Behind the final match, including extra time, in which the England women’s team brought their country the first serious international football title in the last 56 years, and at the same time did not allow the German girls to get even for the defeat of the men’s Bundestim by the English in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, in Germany, an average of 17.9 million people were observed. In fact, one out of every three television viewers on Sunday evening chose women’s football: the market share among the general audience was 64.8 percent, and among 14-49 year olds this figure was even higher – 71.0 percent.
Record for the number of viewers
According to the research association AGF Videoforschung, this is the highest coverage of women’s football matches ever measured. The previous record belonged to the 2011 World Championship held in Germany. Then, almost 17 million spectators watched the quarterfinal match, in which the German national team unexpectedly lost to the Japanese players. Interestingly, the final match of the 2013 European Football Championship, when the Germans won the title for the eighth time in their history, was watched on TV by less than nine million people.
Euro 2022 showed that technically women’s football rapidly approaching the male. Today, after Germany captain Alexandra Popp’s two phenomenal goals against the French or England’s midfielder Alessia Russo’s spectacular back heel to score a third against Sweden, no one can say that women can’t shoot or pass. accurate pass, or gracefully feint.
By the way, the fact that Rousseau is already called Lassie in the UK (by analogy with Messi) also speaks volumes. Quite close, apparently, is the hour when in the same Germany, where women’s football is rapidly gaining popularity, you can see children playing football on the streets on whose T-shirts will not be the name of Manuel Neuer (Manuel Neuer) or Thomas Müller (Tomas Müller), and the same Merle Froms (Merle Frohms) or Alexandra Popp.
A new milestone in women’s football
Experts highly appreciated the quality of the tournament and the final match. “I’m very sorry for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her entire team as they weren’t able to crown their great performance with a title. But after the first disappointment they will be able to remember this tournament with pride,” the men’s head coach was quoted as saying on Twitter. Germany national football team Hansi Flick (Hansi Flick) group of his fans.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg herself – head coach of the German women’s football team, four-time European champion and vice-world champion in the Bundestim – believes that the phenomenal success of Euro 2022 should lead to fundamental changes in women’s football. “We want equality of opportunity, better stadiums, more spectators, more TV airtime, better start times,” she said, adding that infrastructure, training conditions for players and coaches, and the salaries of football players, which are still very different from the incomes of their male counterparts.
Olaf Scholz, who met with the Bundestim immediately after the final match to offer words of consolation to the German players, according to Voss-Tecklenburg, promised to meet with her as soon as possible to resolve these issues, and also to help Germany re-host women’s football tournament of the highest level.