Why are Australian soccer fans in for a nasty surprise when they see the Matildas take on Denmark in a do-or-die clash at the World Cup in Sydney?
- Round of 16 contest is the team’s biggest game so far
- Huge viewership ratings for Denmark game expected to continue
- One aspect of the broadcast is sure to anger many Australians
Millions of Australians are dying to see Matildas take on Denmark on Monday night, but many of them will miss out on the schedule for the World Cup qualifying clash.
The problem lies in the 8:30pm AEST kick-off time, which pushes the broadcast of the game on Channel Seven past bedtime for millions of young Australians who would like nothing more than to stay up and cheer on Sam Kerr. and the rest of the team. .
As it stands, the action is expected to end around 10:30pm AEST, but that only applies if the result is decided within 90 minutes of regulation time.
Since the round of 16 game is a knockout match, it will go into two overtime periods of 15 minutes each if scores are still locked at full time.
If the teams are still tied after the additional 30 minutes of play, the result will be decided by a best-of-five penalty shootout.
Many young Matildas fans won’t be able to watch the team battle Denmark as the late start pushed the action past bedtime (pictured local soccer fans at the Australia vs Ireland World Cup match )
The game could end well after 22:30 if extra time and a penalty shootout are needed to get a result, which is a relatively common way to end matches at major tournaments.
If the tie is not broken after that, the shootout continues in a sudden death format.
Matches in the big round of 16 football tournaments like the Women’s World Cup are often decided on penalties, and Matildas’ coach Tony Gustavsson, along with goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, have confirmed that they are preparing for the match to end that way.
If the Denmark contest is decided in a shootout after two additional periods of play, that would delay the end of the contest to the point where many Australian adults would be worried about staying up past bedtime, never mind their young children. .
While the 8:30pm kick-off time isn’t the last kickoff in the round of 16 (France’s match against Morocco on Tuesday kicks off at 9:00pm AEST), it is the last for a match with Australia. in the tournament so far.
And while it should be noted that the tournament organizers had no way of knowing the Matildas would land in that spot early, as there was no guarantee the Aussies would make it out of the group stage, local fans still have a legitimate complaint. . with the late start.
Millions of Australians are expected to tune in to see if injured captain Sam Kerr (pictured) can make an impact after she vowed to play the Danes.
If the match drags on to the usual best-of-five shootout and moves to a shootout contest based on kicks from the penalty mark, the action will move past the bedtimes of some Australian adults, never mind their young children ( in the photo, young Matildas Fans at the Ireland match)
The 8:30pm AEST start translates to a start at 11:30am in London, 12:30pm in the Danish capital Copenhagen, 6:30am in New York and 3:30pm. am in Los Angeles.
Catering to the huge markets of Europe and the Americas is a delicate balancing act for World Cup organizers as they try to maximize viewership ratings while also dealing with the huge time differences between those countries and the hosts, Australia and New Zealand.
But one of the biggest benefits of hosting a World Cup is the way games are scheduled to fit the usual pattern of life rather than forcing fans to change their sleep patterns to watch the action as it happens.
Aussies have already criticized the fact that they can’t watch the vast majority of the tournament on TV because most matches are behind the Optus Sport paywall, with only 15 of the 64 Cup games available for free on Channel. Seven.
Between that and the time zone issue, keeping everyone happy is impossible, but Matildas fans know that every game from now on could be the team’s last in what is a once-in-a-lifetime World Cup.
That’s why the crucial 30-minute delay that could make all the difference between young fans experiencing a priceless sporting memorabilia or falling asleep, is sure to put the Aussies offside.