England vs. Japan draws 2.4MN viewers on BBC

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 03 July 2015

Popularity for women's football is growing in the UK, judging by the 2.4 million who tuned in to the BBC to watch England's last-gasp defeat in the semi-final of the Women's World Cup in Canada.

The match, broadcast live by the BBC in the early hours of 2 July, saw England cruelly knocked out by reigning champions Japan after an own goal in the second minute of stoppage time.

"The amount of TV exposure we have had and the attention women's football has got has been brilliant. We want to be role models and hopefully girls are inspired to get to the World Cup and start playing at a younger age," said Steph Houghton, England's captain, after the match against Japan.

TV viewing figures from the tournament have been impressive around the world, and even before the semi-finals, FIFA's digital platforms had attracted more than 59 million (from 6-28 June).

France's defeat to Germany in the quarter-finals drew the biggest audience ever recorded on French digital terrestrial television, averaging 4.1 million viewers on W9. Canadian broadcasters CTV and RDS reported an average audience of 3.2 million as Canada lost to England in the quarter-finals.

German broadcaster ZDF, meanwhile, drew an average audience of 7.5 million for the Germany vs. France quarter-final, more than for any other TV show aired across the nation on the same day.

England's Lionesses will now face old rivals Germany on Saturday 4 July to battle for third place.

Japan will face the USA in the Women's World Cup final on Sunday 5 July (or Monday 6 July, midnight BST).