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02.06.2015 12:42 in :

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND: Kiwi football fans showed up in force on the
opening weekend of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, with over 71,000 fans
pouring into the seven stadiums across the country to witness a record
number of goals and a sensational footballing talent.

A sell-out opening match between New Zealand and Ukraine at North
Harbour Stadium, which saw the hosts grab a point, set the tone for a
fantastic opening weekend of matches.

Whangarei’s Northland Events Centre was over 70 percent sold for its
first match between USA and Myanmar, Hamilton hit double figures with
over 10,000 turning out to see a sensational double-header while in
New Plymouth almost 2,000 fans turned up on the day swelling numbers
to nearly 9,000 for arguably the best match of the tournament to date
between Brazil and Nigeria.

The fans support was well rewarded with 44 goals scored in the opening
weekend and a record number, 28, in one day on Queen’s Birthday
Monday.

Local Organising Committee CEO Dave Beeche was delighted with the
first weekend of action and applauded fans for their passion and
enthusiasm at each venue.

“We said we wanted to fill the stadiums with all the noise, colour and
passion associated with world football and we certainly saw this all
over the country,” Beeche said.

“We had Colombians partying in Hamilton, Nigerians drumming their
support in New Plymouth, Argentinians dancing in the stands in
Wellington and Ukrainians singing their national songs in Auckland. It
was a fantastic spectacle and a great advertisement for the game.”

Beeche was also confident that the second round of matches would
continue to pull the crowds.

“It’s always going to be a little more challenging to sell midweek
matches but we already have some good early sales at a number of
venues across the country,” he said.

“Obviously the New Zealand match will draw another good crowd this
evening at North Harbour and fans will clearly not want to miss two
former champions, Ghana and Argentina, going head-to-head in
Wellington tonight.

“We’re confident that after a weekend of sensational football, sports
fans will now be more engaged than ever and will want to ensure that
they are there to see the sublime skill which is on display.”

Full attendances for the weekend were as follows:
Auckland – 25,000
Whangarei – 5,816
Wellington – 9,204
Hamilton – 10,362
Dunedin – 6,048
Christchurch – 6,679
New Plymouth – 8,153
Total attendance – 71,262