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Australian enthusiasm for football: Waves of euphoria and trips to the toilet

Australian enthusiasm for football: Waves of euphoria and trips to the toilet

In Australia, excitement is building for their own footballers who are now advancing to the semi-finals. This can be seen from the surprising statistics.

Unbounded joy: Australian goal celebrated in public in Sydney Photo: Imago

The wave of excitement about our own national team in Australia is now very high, and opportunities for public viewing have been created. John Graham, the secretary of state for jobs, tourism and more, has announced that there will be another chance to watch Australia and France play at the Olympic Park ahead of England and Colombia.

It also makes logistical sense as the campus is an hour’s train ride outside of Sydney, where the FIFA Fan Zone is also located. Even if you have tickets to play in Sydney and want to see Australia, you have to go with everyone in a very tight window – without a possible extension. Although FIFA informed us by email that the media center at the stadium would open earlier than originally planned, this was practical for me, but it was definitely a big plus to follow a game like this somewhere other than in a very sterile setting.

But the event in Sydney was far from the only one. Many Australians feared missing a very special moment. Dinner dates were postponed or canceled and opinion pieces appeared in the newspapers saying why you’re a bad boyfriend if you don’t agree to the rescheduling. Other major sports also adjusted their kick-off times.

For example, the AFL, which plays football under Australian Rules, delayed the Melbourne Football Club’s home game against Carlton by five minutes so that spectators could see the scoreboard at the MCG ahead of time. Around 60,000 people were expected at an AFL game, so the gates to the stadium opened early.

Rash on water consumption

The wave surrounding the Matildas’ games is having an impact in completely different areas. A spokesperson for Melbourne Water said at half-time of the game against Denmark there was a clear swing in the metered data on the city’s water use – the toilet, the coffee machine, don’t miss a second. The Round of 16 match against Denmark was the most-watched televised event in Australia so far in 2023.

Around 2.3 million people watched the 2-0 win over Harder in Bern. Anyway, this year’s record was set again on Saturday. Australia beat France women in a dramatic penalty shootout to advance to the semi-finals.

Unlike other World Cup games, the Australian women’s games are televised free-to-air, otherwise the rights are held by a streaming service provider. It begs the question of how high and diverse the enthusiasm for this World Cup will be in the country if all the matches are so easy to watch.