In addition to his tabloid tendencies and ex-employees in well positioned places, there is no doubt that Rupert Murdoch is a master of the long game. With today’s Fox broadcast of England and Croatia’s advancement to the World Cup semifinals along with France and Belgium, the network’s airing of the 2018 FIFA tournament may be down double digits on the whole from the 2014 competition. However, even lacking an American team to snare stateside viewers with, it is still beating low balled expectations.

All of which could be giving us a greater sense of what the New Fox will look like when everything is shaken down and sold off to either Disney or Comcast, so to speak.

The numbers for England’s 2-0 win over Sweden and Croatia’s plucky defeat of hosts Russia in the penalty shootout phase will come in on Sunday but yesterday’s French and Belgian victories look pretty solid to begin the quarter finals weekend with – on English language and Spanish language broadcasters

On Telemundo Deportes, which has the Spanish language rights to the 2018 World Cup, the defeats of former multiple tournament winners Uruguay and Brazil brought in a best ever Friday daytime viewership of 1.8 million tuning in.

Already a record breaker back home on TF1, France’s 2-0 win over Uruguay attracted 2.54 million viewers to Fox Sports 1 and 2.17 in metered market ratings. While neither in the top 10 for this year’s World Cup in either categories, that match provide the launch pad for the 3.5 million sets of eyeballs and 2.92 in the early metrics ratings of Brazil’s 2-1 loss to Belgium. That 11:45 AM PT starting Battle of the Bs game proved to be the most watched weekday afternoon offering ever for FS1.

Add to that for the future leaning Murdoch clan that with an average minute audience of 559,000, Belgium’s securing of a semi-finals perch by beating Brazil is the mist streamed authenticated event ever for Fox Sports. Then go one level deeper, as July 6 was Fox Sports top day for authenticated streaming overall with 172 million minutes in total. A 172-minutes in total that saw World Cup games and content making 92% of that total.

That’s a series of hard number fact that undoubtedly will be topped as the tournament heads towards its July 14 final. A series of hard facts that will surely be recalled as New Fox’s schedule dives deep into the NFL and next year’s debut of WWE’s Smackdown Live.

Quantico

That certainly can’t be said of last night’s primetime that saw the Murdoch owned net’s single original offering of Big3 Basketball (0.3/1) score the same meager ratings results as its premiere last week.

While the Ice Cube co-created NBA vets competition was unmoved, the latest episode of the final season of Quantico (0.5/2) saw the ABC Priyanka Chopra FBI series rise a tenth from its June 29 airing.

The rest of the Disney-owned net’s night had What Would You Do? (0.5/3) the same as last week as was 20/20 (0.6/3).

The ABC news mag matched NBC’s Dateline (0.6/3) among adults 18-49 but the Comcast-owned net’s offering was up a tick in viewership with 3.2 million watching to 20/20’s 3.07 million. Overall, an encore packed NBC matched ABC on the slow Friday night with a 0.5/3 in the key demo. A total repeated filled CBS was the most watched net as almost always on a Friday with 3.83 million watching, a low number for the House of Moonves.

Following last week’s return of Masters of Illusions (0.3/1), the CW saw the series move up a tenth last night.

Back to the real competition, the World Cup semi-finals sees England take on Croatia on July 11 with France meeting Belgium the day before The results of those games head towards a July 15 finale that we can at least say for sure will see a European nation as the winner – and Rupert Murdoch.