Matildas mania sparks 'unprecedented' TV move for World Cup quarter-final

The Matildas will take priority over Channel 7's 6pm news bulletin in an extraordinary decision.

Sam Kerr and the Matildas.

If there was a perfect example of the way the Matildas have captivated the nation during their run to the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup, it's the fact Channel 7 have decided to push back their 6pm news bulletin by an hour in order to show the Aussies against France on the main channel. The Matildas will take on France at 5pm (AEST) on Saturday, leaving Channel 7 with a tricky scheduling decision considering the 6pm news normally takes priority.

But in what is being described as an unprecedented move for women's sport in Australia, Channel 7 has moved the news back to 7pm so they can show the entire Matildas game on the main channel. Sport is usually shunted to other channels like 7two and 7Mate when the clock hits 6pm, but not on Saturday.

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In a reflection of the insane hype and interest in the Matildas, the entire match will be broadcast on the main 7 channel from 5-7pm, with the news to follow. Former Hockeyroos player and Channel 7 commentator Georgie Parker tweeted: “Before the World Cup I wondered whether Seven would put the Matildas on the main channel over the AFL.

“Well Seven have just said they’re putting the Matildas on the main channel, pushing back THE NEWS. Unprecedented. The news is the anchor of every network. Huge.”

Aussie sporting fans will remember the iconic moment that Channel 9 decided to push back the 6pm news in 2003 so viewers could watch Steve Waugh score an incredible Ashes century on the final ball of the day at the SCG. They did the same thing when Michael Clarke took three wickets in the final over to lead Australia to an incredible win over India in 2008.

But to do similar for women's sport has never been seen in Australia, and perfectly encapsulates the absolute mania the Matildas have created. Over 3.5 million people watched the Matildas' round of 16 win over Denmark on Monday night - eclipsing the viewing numbers for last year's AFL and NRL grand finals, and this year's State of Origin series. Channel 7 are clearly keen to give the people what they want again on Saturday night.

AFL to show Matildas game at SCG, MCG and Optus Stadium

The AFL has also taken extraordinary steps to ensure fans can keep abreast of the Matildas during games this weekend, with the SCG, MCG and Optus Stadium all set to show the Matildas on their big screens. The AFL has also pushed back the start time of Carlton's clash with Melbourne at the MCG from 7.25pm to 7.30 so the news can fit in between the game and the Matildas.

AFL fans who attend games at the MCG, SCG and Optus Stadium will all be able to watch the Matildas on the big screen before and after the respective matches. The SCG will show the Matildas game after the Sydney Swans' clash with the Gold Coast Suns at 1.45pm, while Optus Stadium will show it before the West Coast Eagles take on Fremantle at 8.10pm.

Those in attendance at the MCG for the Carlton-Melbourne clash will also be able to watch it before the game at 7.30pm. However AFL officials have confirmed they won't be able to continue showing the Matildas game if it goes past 7.30 - if extra-time or penalties are required.

The Matildas, pictured here at the Women's World Cup.
The Matildas will take on France for a place in the semi-finals at the Women's World Cup. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Matildas mania sweeping across Australia for World Cup

"We have believed since we started this World Cup that we can win this World Cup. We've always had that belief," centre-back Clare Hunt said on Thursday.

"We've shown that belief, we express that in the way we play. If we continue to deal with the pressure in the way that we know we can, and continue to provide performances that are winning performances, then of course we can win this World Cup.

"We have the belief that we can win and that's what we're focusing on. We have shown Australia what we are capable of. That is what we are aiming for.

"I don't think we're deeming it a success or failure, whatever happens. But we are fighting for lifting that trophy. The fact that we've motivated Australia and shown them what we are capable of has been successful in a way."

Women's World Cup quarter-finals:

* all times AEST

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