Women’s FA Cup final: Chelsea Ladies v Notts County Ladies, Saturday 1st August, 2.45pm BBC1 (kick-off 3pm)
Record crowds and unprecedented interest following the World Cup comes with added scrutiny: now it’s time to see whether the women’s FA Cup final can live up to the hype.
This is the first time the women’s season finale has been played at Wembley Stadium; 27,000 tickets have already been sold. “If we see those numbers, I see no reason why the FA Cup final cannot be played at Wembley every year,” said Chelsea and England’s Eniola Aluko.
But while the crowd will make the spectacle, it’s back in front of the telly where the real test of the game’s growth lies.
BBC banked on England performing well at the World Cup and it paid off, but this is the first chance to see whether the most successful England team in half a century is enough to draw more viewers to the domestic game.
Neither Notts County nor Chelsea have ever won the trophy. Notts are in the final for the first time ever, but that doesn’t mean this is a contest between lucky underdogs.
Seven members of England’s World Cup squad are set to feature this Saturday, including Laura Bassett for County – she of the heartwrenching own goal in the World Cup semi final.
Former Arsenal captain Katie Chapman will lead her Chelsea side out, a day before the men’s team play in the Community Shield against the Gunners.
Attention spans will inevitably shorten when the Premier League lurches into life again on 8th August. But before then, this Saturday’s game is the best chance we’ll have to take the pulse of the women’s game – and find out whether the Lionesses have really set the country racing.