Coventry Building Society Arena welcomed a record crowd for a sport event as England’s Lionesses beat Italy 2-1 on Sunday.
The Coventry stadium attracted 32,128 supporters for the second double-header of the 2023 Arnold Clark Cup – with the day also seeing Belgium face South Korea in the second fixture.
It breaks the previous record attendance at Coventry Building Society Arena for a sport event which was set by Wasps v Leicester Tigers at 32,019 in 2015.
The record-breaking day also saw the biggest ever attendance for a women’s football match in the Midlands.
Thousands of fans arrived hours before the 3.15pm kick-off to enjoy the atmosphere at the venue ahead of the Lionesses first match in the Midlands since playing in Stoke against Luxembourg in September 2022.
Fans gathered by the south pavilion entrance to the venue to welcome the team’s coach, waving flags to welcome their England heroes.
They enjoyed a festival experience during the day as anticipation built to see the Euro 2022 champions play in Coventry. The venue hosted a fans village with live DJs, funfair rides and face painting to support the party atmosphere on the day.
Fans carried the party atmosphere to the stands and were treated to a winning performance from Sarina Wiegman’s team against Italy.
Rachel Daly, who plays her club football in the West Midlands, opened the scoring for the Lionesses with a brilliant first-half header.
Italy levelled the score in the 62nd minute through a header from Sofia Cantore. The ball looked to have crossed the by-line before Cantore headed home, but the referee allowed play to continue.
England’s Lionesses came roaring back and in the 70th minute, Daly doubled her tally with a second-headed goal of the match. The goal was enough to seal victory for England and give the Lionesses their second win of this year’s Arnold Clark Cup.
Belgium also beat South Korea 2-1 on the day.
The Arnold Clark Cup was the first major event held at Coventry Building Society Arena under new ownership with Frasers Group.
Paul Michael, Commercial Director at Coventry Building Society Arena, said: “The chance to see the Lionesses here in the West Midlands was always going to be a huge draw after the summer’s Euro win. It was incredible to see the stands full here at Coventry Building Society Arena.
“There was a wonderful atmosphere all around the stadium and before kick-off a real excitement to get the chance to see the Lionesses in action.
“We saw thousands of supporters arrive early to enjoy the fans zone, enjoy the hospitality experiences and welcome the England team bus.
“The venue has a history of major sport events taking place here, from the 2012 Olympics to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Rugby League World Cup last year, and this is the latest event to join that long list of successes.
“This is a record attendance for a sport event at the venue and it will be a day that lives long in the memory.”