BBC sports reporter Matt Graveling with his new-born baby (PA)
Matt Graveling - Matt Graveling
The Lionesess have “a new fan for the final” after a sports journalist’s daughter was born moments after England’s Ella Toone scored the opener in the World Cup semi-final.
Matt Graveling, a senior reporter for BBC Sport, was told by NHS nurses that England scored the opening goal against Australia just a minute before his partner gave birth to a healthy six-pound, four-ounce baby – who then spent the first hour of her life listening to the second half of the match.
Not usually one to miss a major sporting event, Mr Graveling’s partner – who, along with his newborn daughter, he does not wish to name – was wheeled into a room at a hospital to give birth just as the semi-final started at 11am, which was being played on a nearby television.
“I could hear Robyn Cowan (BBC sports commentator) commentating and I almost wanted to text her and say, just so you know, you’re currently soundtracking my baby’s birth,” he told the PA news agency.
“I was looking around in one of the side rooms with the nursing team, who were helping with the delivery, they had the match on a little television.
“And I said what’s the score? And they said it was nil-nil.”
The sports reporter added that after an estimated 30 minutes supporting his partner in labour, a nurse tapped his shoulder and whispered to him: “It’s one nil England.”
Mr Graveling said: “Literally about a minute later our baby daughter was born.
“Then we were taken to recovery and that’s when I got my daughter to listen to the second half of the game.”
Matt Graveling’s new-born baby listening to the second half of England’s match against Australia (Matt Graveling/PA)
Mr Graveling said “he would like to think” that his daughter heard the sports commentators declare that the Lionesses made it to the World Cup final during her first hour of life.
“I’d like to think that in the first hour of her life, she had at least heard the final whistle of England’s semi-final,” the sports journalist said.
“And the words from the commentators that England will be going to the World Cup final.”
He added “it’s amazing” that his daughter will now have the chance to watch and be inspired by the Lionesses competing at the World Cup.
He said: “It’s amazing as a football fan that she gets to watch the England women’s football team in a World Cup.
“As a dad, it just fills me with pride.
“Seeing this cohort of incredible female role models that my daughter can now look up to, it just means even more to me.”
England’s Ella Toone celebrates scoring her side’s first goal of the game during the World Cup semi-final match at Stadium Australia (Isabel Infantes/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Zac Goodwin
Mr Graveling added that he and his partner are “incredibly blessed” to give birth to a baby via IVF, a series of techniques helping those with fertility problems have a baby, after trying for three years.
“We feel incredibly blessed to be in a situation to bring a little girl into this world – we’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions,” he said.
“We’ve been through our own IVF journey for about three years and we just feel so incredibly blessed to finally be given the chance to have a child.
“IVF is not normalised very much, it’s not spoken about as much as I think it could be. As a result, people do feel isolated.”
Mr Graveling will be watching England face Spain at the World Cup final on Sunday alongside his daughter and partner.