Former England captain Casey Stoney believes the crowds at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France are "disappointing" because FIFA and the local organisers failed to promote the tournament properly.

While the television audiences have been breaking records for the women's game, attendances at the matches have been a different story.

England's opener against Scotland in Nice, which attracted a peak UK audience of 6.1 million viewers, was watched by just over 13,000 fans in the stadium, only 38 per cent of its tournament capacity.

The same venue was only a quarter full for Sweden's 5-1 win over Thailand on Sunday, while three of the four games staged in Le Havre so far have been less than half full.

Some critics have suggested that fans were put off because FIFA had given the impression the games were nearly sold out.

In May, the official Twitter account of world football's governing body said tickets were available for "only a few matches", while president Gianni Infantino told reporters just before the tournament that 20 of the 44 matches were sold out.

A week later, FIFA was forced to admit only 14 matches had sold out - mainly the latter stages and the games involving France - and that a sixth of the one million tickets it had "allocated" were given out free to media, sponsors, staff and VIPs, and even this left 300,000 tickets available.

Stoney said: "I've been to lots of games and some of the crowds have been really disappointing.

"I don't think the organisers did enough to market the tournament - in some of the cities you would not know the Women's World Cup was on until you get to the stadium."

The 37-year-old, who played in three World Cups for England, also believes FIFA initially made it too difficult for fans to buy tickets by insisting they use cards supplied by VISA, a big sponsor, and they have not publicised the fact that tickets are available at the venues on match days.

"Why would you put up barriers to selling tickets like that?" said Stoney.

On a more positive note, Stoney believes the quality of football has been "fantastic" but the captain of Great Britain's London 2012 team has been less impressed by the use of video assistant referees at the tournament.

"I'm not a fan, to be honest," she said.

"I was at the Australia-Brazil game and there were three VAR interventions that took more than seven minutes to sort out. We want better decisions but it's got to be quicker than that.

"And the decision to retake the French penalty against Nigeria was ridiculous (on Monday). She put it wide, so the 'keeper moving early had nothing to do with it and the French players were encroaching, too."