The hopes of the Three Lions of taking the trophy back home were crushed after their defeat against The Blues.
British broadcaster ITV witnessed peak television viewership of 23 million during England’s crushing defeat against France on Saturday, the media network reported.
The intense 2022 FIFA World Cup match saw France’s The Blues, or Les Bleus, reach the semi-finals following a stunning 2-1 win.
Millions of eyes were glued onto ITV and ITVX, representing the highest viewership on any channel this year and since 2021’s European Championship. The championship saw Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties.
Figures published by ITV found that the intense match against France garnered 2.5 million viewers aged between 16 and 34. The game also marked the best Saturday night audience since 2002.
Combining all devices, the broadcaster saw 20.4 million viewers with an average of roughly 16 million watching the entire live coverage.
The figure beat ITV’s previous peak of 20.4 million during England’s match against Senegal during which the Three Lions emerged victorious.
The same day saw another intense match between Morocco and Portugal, which witnessed a historic win by the Atlas Lions. Morocco’s victory was followed by days of celebrations globally after it succeeded in being the first ever African, Arab and Muslim country to reach the quarter-finals.
ITV found that the Morocco v. Portugal match was streamed 8.2 million times. The UK has a dense Arab community of hundreds of thousands. In total, the two major matches reached 30 million streams on ITVX, its best record for views.
Apart from ITV, the BBC hit other records, including England’s opener against Iran, which became the most streamed match in more than 24 hours on BBC Iplayer. A total of eight million people streamed the game on the platform.
This came after the BBC caused a major uproar in the UK after it snubbed the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar, depriving viewers of a spectacular show. The broadcaster had received almost 1,500 complaints from furious football fans at the time.
Football is a major cultural element in the UK and is a crucial part of British identity. The modern sport itself is believed to have originated in England more than 100 years ago in 1863.
Chaos has long been part of the sport due to its intensity. This was seen in 1314 when the Lord Mayor of London banned football due to the chaos it had caused. Yet, the game continued to grow in popularity and so did the passion of its enthusiasts.