England's loss to France draws the biggest TV audience of the year

England’s loss to France draws the biggest TV audience of the year as 23million people tuned in to watch the Three Lions’ agonising exit from the World Cup… but that’s fewer viewers than the Euro 2020 final heartbreak

  • England are out of the World Cup after losing to France in the quarter-final 
  • The defeat to the reigning world champions drew biggest TV audience of 2022 
  • A peak audience of 23million tuned in to watch the game on ITV on Saturday 
  • Harry Kane missed chance to equalise from the spot with six minutes left
  • REPORT: It’s more World Cup heartbreak for the Three Lions
  • PLAYER RATINGS: Jude Bellingham stood out for England once again
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

The biggest TV audience of the year watched England’s 2-1 defeat against France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday night.

A peak audience of 23million tuned in on ITV and ITVX to watch Gareth Southgate’s men exit the tournament in agonising fashion, making it the broadcaster’s best Saturday night since records began in 2002.

The audience was the biggest of the tournament so far and the highest peak of any channel this year. 

England were knocked out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to France on Saturday night

By comparison, the Queen’s funeral service in Westminster Abbey in September drew a peak of 19.5million of viewers on BBC One with an average of 12.9 million spectators tuning in across the broadcast.

Her Majesty’s State Funeral was watched by a combined audience of 29.2 million people. Significantly, however, the service was broadcast simultaneously on several networks, including BBC One, BBC Two and BBC News, all four ITV channels as well as Sky News and Sky Sports.

In terms of single-channel broadcasts, England’s loss to France drew the biggest audience of the year, although it failed to surpass the combined audience of the Euro 2020 final. 

The biggest TV audience of the year tuned into England vs France on Saturday night

A combined 31million people watched England lose the final to Italy on penalties across BBC and ITV. The viewership then peaked at 25million in BBC and six million on ITV, according to official figures.

Some 15.1million viewers watched England’s defeat to France, making it the most-watched programme on TV on any channel this year. 

It was also the most-watched programme across any channel for viewers between the age of 16 and 34, with 2.5million of them tuning in. 

Across all viewing on all devices, an average audience of 20.4 million viewers watched the match, with an average of close to 16 million viewers watching the coverage.

England fans gathered to watch the game on giant screens in cities across the country

But there was heartache as Harry Kane missed a penalty with six minutes left 

Approximately 15.3million viewers streamed the game, almost double of the 8.2million who streamed Morocco’s win over Portugal on ITV earlier on Saturday.

The broadcaster reported a total of 30million streams on ITVX yesterday, the biggest figure for its streaming service. 


Fans across the country watched the game at home and packed out pubs and bars as England looked to reach a second consecutive World Cup semi-final, but it wasn’t to be.

Harry Kane missed a penalty six minutes from time that would have drawn England level

Harry Kane’s penalty early in the second half cancelled out Aurélien Tchouaméni’s opener, before Olivier Giroud restored France’s lead with 78 minutes gone. 

The England captain then fluffed his lines six minutes later, blasting his second penalty of the night over the bar as France’s bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 remained alive.

France will play Morocco in the semi-final on Wednesday, after the Atlas Lions became the first African team to progress past the last eight in the history of the tournament.  

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