A record crowd of more than 83,000 is expected to attend the Olympic women's soccer gold-medal match between Japan and the United States Thursday at Wembley Stadium. Fans bought 5,000 tickets after
the Americans, winners of the last two gold medals, rallied repeatedly to down Canada, 4-3, in overtime to set up a rematch with Japan, which downed France in its semifinal and beat the USA in last
year's Women's World Cup final.
The Olympic women's soccer attendance record was set in 1996 when 76,489 fans watched the USA beat China, 2-1, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.
Thursday's game will also attract the greatest number of fans to watch a women's match in Britain. The previous record of 70,584 was set earlier in these London Games when Britain played Brazil at Wembley.
A FIFA spokesman said: "We are absolutely delighted with the crowds at the tournament for both men and women - especially the women's matches. It proves what a vital and robust part soccer plays in the Olympic Games - and always has done."
The record for a women's World Cup final was set in 1999 when 90,185 saw the USA defeat China on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Although some tickets for matches in the London Olympic soccer tournament went unsold, the cumulative total for both men and women's games stands at 1,951,707 - with 569,128 watching women's matches so far.
An Olympic record total of 740,014 spectators watched the women's soccer tournament in Beijing four years ago. With the final and bronze-medal match between France and Canada also scheduled for Thursday, London's final total will be around 660,000.