There always has to be one.
Australia has been gripped by Matildas fever in a collective sporting moment arguably not seen in this country since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Fans have turned out in droves, not only to games but also live sites around the country to watch as a collective and TV records have tumbled as the nation tunes gets behind Australia.
While the TV ratings for Saturday night’s gripping quarterfinal that became the longest ever shootout in FIFA World Cup history — men’s or women’s — weren’t yet out, the ratings had only been climbing game after game.
More than 3.5 million watched the Matildas’ round of 16 win over Denmark on Monday night on Channel 7 – 3.18m on TV and 385,000 on the 7plus streaming service in Australia.
Even just those numbers were enough to outrate every NRL Grand Final and State of Origin since 2016 as well as five of the past seven AFL Grand Finals. And even more football fans more would have been watching via Optus Sport, as well as all those at live sites.
It was the highest audience for any TV show so far in 2023, although it’s expected the quarterfinal against France and Wednesday night’s semi-final between the Matildas and England will eclipse it.
There was pandemonium after the Matildas downed France as videos poured in about how people were tuning in to watch the game.
However, not everyone was watching the game as vision from popular broadcaster Jacqui Felgate showed.
Sharing a video from a flight, it appeared that almost everyone was watching the tense shootout, erupted in cheers after Cortnee Vine slotted the winner in the shootout.
All except one person, who was watching Lord of the Rings.
It seems crazy that someone wouldn’t want to be part of this collective moment with the rest of the nation, whether you like sport or not.
Fans at the MCG — after the big screens were turned off at the end of regulation time — got to TVs anywhere they could to see the tense shootout.
The Channel 7 AFL commentators, who were covering the Blues and Demons game, simply had to watch as well.
AFL Media’s Michael Whiting even snapped a photo of Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions coaches gathering around a phone to watch the final stages of the match, delaying the press conferences.
t was truly wild scenes from coast to coast around Australia.
ABC broadcaster Tyson Whelan put together a great thread on social media showing fans celebrating across the nation.
From Adelaide to Sydney fans went absolutely mental as the Matildas made it through to semis for the first time.
And it’s set to get even more chaotic now that the Matildas will face England in the World Cup semi-final at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night at 8pm AEST.
While we were able to edge past World No. 5 France on Saturday night, it only gets harder with World No. 4 England.
While France bowed out of a third straight quarterfinal, this will be England’s third straight semi-final with the Lionesses having finished third in 2015 in Canada and fourth in France in 2019.
This is the furthest the Matildas have ever made it in a World Cup.
Maybe if the Tillies make the final that person will turn off Return of the King and join the rest of the country’s celebration.