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World Cup final sees women's soccer join global sport big league

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 6, 2019 - Duration: 01:59s

World Cup final sees women's soccer join global sport big league

Record audiences are expected to watch the Women's World Cup final on Sunday, but whether victory goes to the U.S. or the Netherlands, the event looks like a big win for women's soccer.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

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World Cup final sees women's soccer join global sport big league

U.S. fans are taking over Lyon ahead of Sunday's (July 7) final in the Women's World Cup.

Their team set to take on the Netherlands.

Whoever wins, the event is being hailed as a triumph.

Stadiums have been packed for big games, and 70% full on average.

Soccer governing body FIFA says total TV viewer numbers are on track to surpass one billion.

Reuters reporters in France say there's a real buzz.

Simon Evans is in Lyon for the final: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS SPORTS REPORTER SIMON EVANS, SAYING: "The level of interest, the TV audience figures from around the world have been incredible, the crowds have been big inside the stadiums, and just around France there's a level of interest, and the amount of people who've traveled here to watch this tournament... these things have all been unprecedented." This was the first women's world cup in Mexico in 1971.

Ninety thousand packed into the Azteca stadium for the opening game, but this was an unofficial tournament.

TV coverage was minimal.

Some players and organizers were even banned from the sport for taking part.

Forty-eight years later, the competition is big business.

These U.S players preparing for the final are feted back home.

Some, like winger Megan Rapinoe, are bona fide stars: (SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. PLAYER, MEGAN RAPINOE, SAYING: "It will be a great final." A sense too that the event is winning over male viewers, and players.

Former England star David Beckham one to enjoy the spectacle, and back in the U.S. it's no longer just girls paying attention: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONNOR, 9-YEARS-OLD, SAYING: "The teams, they're really good and USA beat Thailand 13-nil." Now record audiences are expected to watch Sunday's final.

After beating Spain, France and England along the way, the U.S. are hot favorites.

Their team, and this event, look ready to come of age on the world stage.

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