Yesterday England got the World Cup off to a massive start as they racked up a massive scoreline against Samoa who went into the game as favourites and one of the fives teams expected to push for glory in the competition.
Braces from Dom Young and Elliot Whitehead saw England win 60-6 as they ran in 10 tries in Newcastle to send out a message to their rivals as the World Cup stars.
Things perhaps didn’t get off to the best start however when a technical fault threatened to derail the opening ceremony which preceded the game as the PA system failed resulting in the Kaiser Chiefs only being able to play one song prior to the match.
However, fans made sure it was still an event sparking a Mexican wave which went round the ground though sadly most in the press box didn’t take part.
Then the game kicked off and England gave the 43,119 fans in attendance plenty to cheer about from start to finish but how does this attendance compare with that in previous World Cup openers?
Remarkably, the attendance posted yesterday is the third highest in World Cup history for an opening game.
It was just 2000 shy of the British record set in Wales in 2013 at the Millenium Stadium with 45,052 fans watching a double header which involved both Wales and England.
The all-time record is still held by the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1968 when 62,256 fans watched as Australia battled Great Britian.
Tournament organisers can be proud that the attendance yesterday beat out the 41,271 people who watched at Wembley as England met Australia in the tournament opener in 1995 and likewise it easily beat the 33,758 fans who went to the opening game in 2000 at Twickenham.
1954 France vs New Zealand – Parc Des Paris – 13,240
1957 Australia vs New Zealand – Lang Park – 28,765
1960 Australia vs France – Central Park – 20,278
1968 Australia vs Great Britain – Sydney Cricket Ground – 62,256
1970 Australia vs New Zealand – Central Park – 9,805
1972 France vs New Zealand – Stade Velodrome – 20,748
1975 France vs Wales – Stade Municipal – 7,563
1977 New Zealand vs Australia – Carlaw Park – 18,000
1985 New Zealand vs Australia – Carlaw Park – 15,327
1989 New Zealand vs Australia – Mount Smart Stadium – 15,000
1995 England vs Australia – Wembley – 41,271
2000 England vs Australia – Twickenham – 33,758
2008 England vs Papua New Guinea – Dairy Farmers Stadium – 10,780
2013 England vs Australia – Millenium Stadium – 45,052
2017 Australia vs England – AAMI Park – 22,724
2022 England vs Samoa – St James’ Park – 43,119