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Football Ferns to Ignite Women's World Cup | Wellington Stays Optimistic

 Football Ferns to Ignite Women's World Cup | Wellington Stays Optimistic

Football Ferns to Ignite Women's World Cup
Football Ferns to Ignite Women's World Cup((Image-Getty)

The city of Wellington is optimistic that the presence of their beloved Football Ferns will invigorate interest in the Women's World Cup this week, as the early matches struggled to fill the 33,132-capacity Sky Stadium.

While a remarkable crowd of 42,137 witnessed New Zealand secure their first-ever World Cup victory with a 1-0 win over Norway at Eden Park on Thursday, the tournament's start in the New Zealand capital has been lukewarm.

The match on Friday between Spain and Costa Rica fell short of reaching 70% of the stadium's capacity, drawing only 22,966 attendees. Similarly, Sunday's game between Sweden and South Africa saw the stadium filled to just 55% of its capacity.

"I was expecting more people, more enthusiastic fans," lamented 43-year-old Sweden supporter Larna Tigerholm.

Unlike co-host Australia, which experienced a surge in early ticket sales with over a million sold more than a month before the tournament's commencement, New Zealand residents were slower to respond. To counter this, the global soccer governing body offered 20,000 free tickets days ahead of kick-off.

Kevin Argus, a senior lecturer from RMIT University, emphasized the need for better communication about the unique experience of witnessing matches between teams that aren't the national team and may not be highly ranked. He believes that storytelling could be a powerful tool to engage the audience.

However, the upcoming showdown between the Ferns and the Philippines on Tuesday is already sold out, showcasing the excitement for this encounter. A victory over the World Cup debutants would keep the Ferns' dream of progressing from the group stage alive.

Likewise, the clash on Thursday between four-time champions, the United States, and their 2019 final rivals, the Netherlands, is also sold out, indicating increasing interest as the tournament progresses.

Warrick Dent, the general manager of WellingtonNZ for events and experiences, is optimistic about building momentum and encouraging more New Zealanders and diverse communities to join in on the excitement of the Women's World Cup.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we're confident that New Zealanders will rally behind it as the tournament unfolds."

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