Almost 20 million people in Britain watched England reach the World Cup semi-finals on television, viewing figures showed Sunday, not accounting for the many more who watched in pubs.
“England’s World Cup quarter-final victory over Sweden attracted a huge 89 percent of available audience to BBC One, with a peak of 19.9 million,” the BBC said in a statement.
“The match received an incredible 3.9 million programme requests online… with a record 3.8 million of them live, making it the BBC’s highest online-viewed live programme, ever.”
Streets across England were deserted on Saturday afternoon as the nation crammed into sweaty pubs, gathered around big screens or stayed home to watch the national side reach the last four in a World Cup for the first time in 28 years.
When the final whistle blew in Russia, fans draped in red and white flags spilled outside back home to celebrate the 2-0 victory and dance to chants of the anthem “football’s coming home”.
There was a little too much enthusiasm in one area of London, however, where revellers jumped on an ambulance car, causing enough damage for it to be taken out of service for repairs.