England’s emphatic 3-0 victory over local rival Wales in the Qatar World Cup was seen by a peak UK audience of 18.7M.

That represents the biggest UK audience figure for the controversial soccer tournament to date. Across the match, in which Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden starred for England, the program drew a 12.5M/59% share, according to data from overnights.tv.

The 18.7M figure includes TV, iPlayer and BBC Sport Online viewing.

The BBC has seen a big spike in iPlayer viewing during the World Cup, with BBC programs streamed a record 165M last week, up 20% week-on-week and breaking the previous high by 12M.

There was also a record for under-35 iPlayer viewing, with 6.3M watching BBC shows last week, up 41% week-on-week, and beating the previous record of 5M.

Sports viewing in the UK is not completely accurate as it does not include games watched in pubs and public venues, which would add a huge amount to the recorded views.

England comfortably beat Wales yesterday and qualified for the second round top of Group B, with Wales exiting the tournament after recording just a single point during the group stages. Next up in Senegal, who qualified second from Group A.

At half-time cult singer Chesney Hawkes performed his hit ‘I Am the One and Only’ in front of fans at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha. The song sent social media into a spin, with Hawkes’ name quickly trending on Twitter.

USA also qualified from Group B after beating Iran 1-0 thanks to a Christian Pulisic goal.


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