England Women are set to play in front of their largest crowd ever when they take on Germany at Wembley Stadium on November 23rd, in a friendly as part of preparation for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. However their hopes of playing in front of a sell-out crowd have been dashed by planned engineering works.
The planned works on the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines has led to ticket sales being capped at 55,000 tickets. This is due to fears that the transport network would not be able to cope with any more fans. This is still a far better turnout than that of the men’s side, which only pulled in 40,181 spectators in their most recent game at Wembley - a friendly against Norway.
The ticket sales will also dwarf the England Women’s previous biggest attendance, which was set by a 29,092 audience that watched a clash with Finland in the European Championships. Considering the game against Germany is only a friendly, a huge number of tickets have been sold, and one can suggest it reflects that women's football is definitely on the rise.
Long overdue debut at the new Wembley
This will be the first time that England women have played at the new Wembley stadium. And it comes as interest in women’s football is bigger than ever after the thrilling finale to the Women’s Super League earlier in the year.
England goalkeeper, Siobhan Chamberlain, speaking from an FA event at Middlesex University, is particularly pleased with the game's increased popularity.
She said: “It shows interest has increased and the media coverage is improving, more people are aware of the game and having the game at Wembley is great to have”
Moreover, the FA has announced that female participation in football has exceeded its annual target. This is part of a two-year scheme which was intended to get more female participation at grassroots level. It involves 87 Football League and Premier League clubs providing sessions over 30 weeks. This is a part of the FA’s strategy to make women’s football the England’s second largest team sport by 2018. The future looks bright for women’s football in the England.
However they will face a tough test against the world’s second ranked team, Germany who have only lost once in 20 months. England though, will go into the game full of confidence. They will be in front of their home crowd and on the back of a 10-0 win against Montenegro and with a 100% record from their World Cup Qualifiers.
Chamberlain is feeling confident ahead of the game though, insisting: “It will be a completely different game to all of our qualifiers, but having beating all those teams comfortably and scoring lots of goals, it has given us lots of confidence.”