Meanwhile, France’s earlier round of 16 win over Brazil attracted the biggest single television audience for a Women’s World Cup match ever — with a total of 35.2 million people watching in Brazil.
And in Italy, 7.3 million viewers watched the team take on Brazil. The previous high saw just 202,844 tune in for the Japan versus the U.S. final at the 2011 World Cup, according to FIFA.
The total viewership is still way behind the men’s World Cup, which was seen by more than 3.5 billion viewers last year, but it’s growing fast. The 1 billion viewers expected this year is a big increase on 2015 when 750 million watched the action on TV and 86 million tuned in online or their mobile devices.
Sunday will be a busy day for international soccer.
Brazil faces Peru in the final of South America's men's championship in the afternoon.
The U.S. men's national team then takes on Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final Sunday night, a scheduling decision that has prompted some criticism.
“It’s ridiculous, and disappointing, to be honest,” U.S. women's star Megan Rapinoe told CBS News.
Fans aren’t just watching at home, though.
Thousands of American supporters traveled to France to watch their team.
“It’s just so exhilarating,” Lena Cooley, the head of the Spokane, Wash. chapter of the American Outlaws fan club, told NBC News in Paris last week.
The sport has come a long way since she was a child and was told by a coach that girls shouldn’t be playing soccer, said Cooley, 53, who wasn’t dissuaded and went on to become the first female licensed referee in Idaho.
“I’m now watching the women out-score the men, they bring in more money than the men. It’s like, yeah guys, it’s time now,” she said.
Aside from the growth of the sport in general, this has simply been a wildly entertaining tournament.
Last-minute wins, controversial decisions from officials using new video review technology, some eye-catching goals and on-pitch drama have added to the momentum and expectation.
Prince-Wright added that a drastic improvement in the quality of the women’s game — the result of increased funding from big soccer clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid in their women’s teams — had also played a major role in its growing popularity.
“It has taken them a while for whatever reason to figure out that it’s a big deal and they should really be pumping money into it,” he said.