England and Scotland set a new UK record for TV viewing figures for women's football when they faced each other in the opening Group D game of the 2019 Women's World Cup on Sunday evening.

The game was broadcast live on BBC One at Sunday teatime and it has been confirmed as the most watched women's game ever on UK TV after as many as 6.1 million tuned in.

It smashed the previous national record of four million set in 2017 when England faced the Netherlands in the semi final of that summer's European Championships.

6.1m is not far short of 10% of the entire UK population, while the viewing figures for the recent men's Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham barely exceeded it, peaking at 6.3m, and enjoying an average of 5.5m.

Meanwhile, the launch of 'Love Island', one of the most talked TV shows in the country, peaked at 3.3m viewers when it returned to screens for a new series last Monday.


It is another sign of significant progress for the women's game, and will help put to bed the exceedingly archaic view point that women's football is not of any interest, nor is it enjoyable to watch - as clearly it is.

The game itself was narrowly won 2-1 by England after first half goals from Nikita Parris and Ellen White. Claire Emslie scored Scotland's first ever Women's World Cup goal in the second half, making for a nervous end to the game for a Lionesses side ranked third in the world.

With England giving a polished, if not exceptional, performance in the first half, but appearing to somewhat shut down after the interval, it was very much a game of two halves. That led Phil Neville to declare afterwards that his team 'have a long way to go' in pursuit of World Cup glory.

"We played really well in the first half. We spoke all week about the style of play we wanted and they delivered and I was pleased with that," the Lionesses boss said.

"I suppose the disappointment is in the second half we needed to keep the ball better. I suppose the legs get heavy. But we have to keep driving standards."