The semi-final World Cup match between France and Morocco on Wednesday night was watched by an average 20.7 million viewers on TF1 from 8pm French time. This is the network’s biggest audience since 2016, and is also the best for any program on any French channel in those six years.

A peak of 23.3 million at 9:53pm French time watched as Les Bleus defeated the impressive Atlas Lions 2-0 in Qatar. The overall market share was 66%; for people aged 25-49, that rises to 78%.

When France won the World Cup final in 2018 versus Croatia, the triumph averaged 19.3 million with a peak of 22.3 million and an 82% share. The 2006 semi-final between France and Portugal remains the biggest ratings draw in the history of French television with an average 22.2 million viewers.

Last night’s match is also the most viewed of this tournament so far for TF1. On Saturday, France’s 2-1 victory over England in the quarter finals averaged 17.7 million and a peak of more than 20 million with a 62.8% share. That was the most-watched World Cup quarter final since 2006 when France beat Brazil in front of 21.8 million TV viewers.

Didier Deschamps’ men have toppled one record after the other for TF1 throughout this tournament, and despite calls to boycott this World Cup over its controversial host country, while polls suggested a high percentage of French people would not follow along on television.

Now it’s on to the finals on Sunday with France facing Argentina from 4pm French time. I don’t want to jinx anything, but if France can keep Lionel Messi & Co at bay on Sunday, we will become the first nation in half a century to take back-to-back World Cup titles.


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