England’s Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final victory over Sweden attracted a television audience of 9.3 million people on Tuesday evening, the biggest that the tournament has seen yet.
That official figure doesn’t account for fans watching in pubs or other large gatherings.
For comparison, the record British TV audience for a woman’s football match was set during the 2019 World Cup, which saw 11.7 million people tune in to watch England, who ultimately lost to the US. That number could potentially be matched on Sunday (31 July) when the Lionesses take on either Germany or France in the tournament final.
Among the team’s celebrity supporters are David Beckham and the duke and duchess of Cambridge.
Simon Cowell, Rita Ora, and Gary Barlow have also vocally supported the team over the course of the tournament, which started earlier this month.
Beckham shared an especially moving post before Tuesday’s (26 July) match, thanking the women’s team for “inspiring” his young daughter. “Me and Harper are with you all the way,” he said in a video posted to Instagram.
Immediately after the team’s victory, Beckham posted an additional message of encouragement: “With this belief, nothing than can stop you.”
A post from the official Instagram account of the Cambridges echoed Beckham’s sentiment. “The entire country is so proud of everything you’re achieveing. We believe in you and will be with you all the way.”
In one clip from yesterday’s coverage that’s gone viral online, a young female England fan celebrated while singing along to Sweet Caroline in the stands.
In a congratulatory Twitter post, radio presenter Jane Garvey captured what many found so affecting about that image, as well as the team’s run so far: “That little girl dancing in her England strip doesn’t know there was a time when girls didn’t play football. Great night and well done”.
The 31 July final will be broadcast on the BBC at 5pm, with coverage beginning at 4pm BST.