The Swedish organisers of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 expressed delight as they announced that the tournament record for ticket sales has been broken with each team having played just one game.
On Friday, sales passed the previous best of around 129,000 set in Finland four years ago, more than half the available tickets. That broke the target UEFA and the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) had initially established, but they are now aiming for even more, having reached a current total of 135,000.
"It is very gratifying," tournament director Göran Havik said. "With such good football played at the beginning, interest will only increase in the future, so we have much to look forward to over the next two weeks."
The six games played so far have been watched by more than 40,000 people. That includes a sell-out crowd of 16,128 for Sweden's opener against Denmark in Gothenburg on Wednesday and 8,861 in Vaxjo when Germany played the Netherlands the next day – a competition record for a match, other than a final, not involving a host nation.
Havik said: "The most important thing is that the games themselves are as good as they are. I've seen three games, Sweden v Denmark, Germany v Netherlands and England v Spain, and it is the best women's football I've seen. This is the best type of PR for the tournament, football and thus ticket sales."
That was especially so for Spain's memorable 3-2 defeat of England in Linkoping last night, the 5,190 spectators creating an atmosphere more than matched by the tremendous excitement on the pitch. "It was technically brilliant at times and we got to see a very high quality game," Havik added.
"It's certainly good for us in Sweden to stage the championship. We see how the development is also progressing in the women's game, and we must keep up in order to belong to the world elite in the future. That is why our concept of 'Winning Ground' is perfect."
Attendances so far
Italy 0-0 Finland, Halmstad: 3,011
Sweden 1-1 Denmark, Gothenburg: 16,128
Norway 1-1 Iceland, Kalmar: 3,867
Germany 0-0 Netherlands, Vaxjo: 8,861
France 3-1 Russia, Norrkoping: 2,980
England 2-3 Spain, Linkoping: 5,190
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