"This Women's EURO is what we were all aiming and hoping for," says UEFA chief of women's football Nadine Kessler, after records on and off the pitch tumbled during the group stage.
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The Women's EURO 2022 group stage has concluded with records tumbling on and off the pitch: new high attendance figures, goals scored totals, numbers of web searches and more.
On the pitch, England's 14 goals in three group stage matches is an all-time competition record, while the hosts' Beth Mead has become the first player to score five goals in a group stage, and together with Germany's Alexandra Popp, is the first woman to score in all three group matches. Northern Ireland's Julie Nelson, meanwhile, became the oldest player to score at a Women's EURO, registering against Norway aged 37 years and 33 days.
However, if figures on the pitch have been impressive, the numbers the other side of the touchline have been even more outstanding. Even before the tournament kicked off, a record 500,000 tickets had been sold (over double the previous best of 240,055 set at Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands) and a colossal 68,871 turned out to watch England beat Austria 1-0 in the opening game, beating the previous best of 41,301 set in the 2013 final in Solna. That record is likely to be broken again in the Wembley final.
In total, 369,314 fans bought tickets for the group stage game; an average of over 15,300 across the 24 matches, with that 240,055 attendance record set at Women's EURO 2017 broken in the 16th game of the 31 at the 2022 finals. The record attendance for a group game not involving the hosts was broken three times: there were 16,819 at Spain's game against Finland, then 21,342 at Netherlands vs Sweden and finally 22,596 as the Dutch beat Switzerland 4-1 in Sheffield to confirm their place in the last eight.
That enthusiasm for the tournament is also reflected in the 90,000 attendance for Fan Parties ahead of matches at the finals, the 100,000 clap banners handed out at stadiums and the 10,000+ fans who have taken part in colourful Fan Walks to the stadiums ahead of games. The local authorities in Sheffield reported that city centre footfall was up by 22% on 9 July, the day that the Netherlands met Sweden at Bramall Lane.
Those figures are fantastic for the host cities, and tournament partners are also benefitting from global interest in the competition. With all the official stats and information on matches, highlights every night, as well as details of where to watch the games on TV, the official UEFA Women's EURO 2022 website and mobile app have become No1 destinations for fans and media alike, receiving over 5.25m visits (and almost 20m page views) so far: more than double the number at the same stage of the 2017 edition. Some 30% of that traffic has come from the United Kingdom, with local fans eager to snap up match tickets and follow teams' performances in the ever-popular live MatchCentres.
Women's EURO: some records so far
Most goals in a single Women's EURO group stage: 14 (England)
Group stage attendance so far: 369,314
Official website and app visits: 5.25m
Social media channels are also picking up the passion for Women's EURO: over four times as many followers have been gained on the official Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat channels since the tournament began compared to during the equivalent phase of the 2017 event. Video views and engagements are up ten times on previous finals, with TikTok, the Official Entertainment Platform of the competition, driving the biggest growth and engagement by offering fans unseen angles, behind-the-scenes content and an immersive live schedule that lifts the lid on the biggest Women's EURO.
"This Women's EURO is what we were all aiming and hoping for," says UEFA chief of women's football, Nadine Kessler. "It is record-breaking from start to finish and raises the bar to a new level never seen before in every aspect, whether it's on a sporting or organisational level.
"A lot of work and dedication has gone into preparations for this tournament and to see it all come to fruition is fantastic. We have invested more than ever, and the players, teams, fans in the stadiums and at home as well as our partners can see and feel this. We are coming to the business end of things; we will see even more records broken. I am very excited about the knockout rounds, with some fantastic matches coming up, and we are all set to leave an amazing legacy behind when the trophy is handed over to winners at Wembley on 31 July."