England won a penalty shoot out at the World Cup for the first time ever and the nation was watching. Some 81% of television viewers tuned in to see the final moments of the penalty shootout, which saw Eric Dier score the winning penalty against the Colombians.
The game peaked with 24.4m linear viewers as goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a brave save after it looked like England would fall to the inevitable with Jordan Henderson missing his spot kick. It was the highest rated moment on British TV in four years.
Airing on ITV, the game, which ran from 6:15pm to 10:30pm, once Colombia equalised in the last minute of normal time, moving the game into extra time, averaged 16.5m viewers across its full slot.
The game was well up on England’s dead-rubber loss against Belgium in the group stages, which drew a peak of 18.6m and a 72% share. That game averaged 13m and a 62% over the course of the match.
It also beat England’s narrow win over Tunisia, which peaked with 18.3M and a 69% share.
ITV also revealed that 3.3M people were watching live on its simulcast digital service ITV Hub, a new record, dwarfing the 2.2m people that tuned in for the Belgium game.
The World Cup, which has thrown up a number of surprises during the tournament, has been a boon for British broadcasters. A peak of 12.4m tuned in to watch Belgium’s extraordinary comeback against Japan on Monday night, with the win averaging 8.2m and a 42.6% share on BBC One. Even Brazil’s win over Mexico, which aired on ITV during the day on Monday, scored 3.7m viewers with a 44.1% share.