England’s exit from World Cup was most watched moment of 2022

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An average audience of 20.4 million TV viewers watched England’s World Cup dreams end in defeat to reigning champions France in a blockbuster quarter-final clash.

The World Cup match on ITV, which saw Harry Kane miss a late penalty ending in a 2-1 quarter-final exit, was the most watched programme across all TV channels this year, the broadcaster said.

ITV said the game drew the highest average TV audience of the tournament, surpassing England’s round of 16 match against Senegal which was watched by an average of 18.4 million with 13.4 million watching the whole coverage.

England v France – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Quarter Final – Al Bayt Stadium
England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Harry Kane following the FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar (Peter Byrne/PA)

In comparison, England’s group match against the United States was watched on ITV by an average of 15.1 million people, with 11.9 million watching the whole coverage.

Having reached the semi-finals in 2018 and finished as runners-up at last year’s European Championship, England were hoping to fight Morocco in the semi-finals.

The game saw England fall behind for the first time in Qatar after Aurelien Tchouameni’s early thunderbolt, only for Kane to level from the spot and equal Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53 goals for the national team.

FIFA World Cup 2022 – England World Cup Exit – Sunday December 11th
England manager Gareth Southgate outside the Souq Al-Wakra hotel, Qatar, following England’s loss to France in their World Cup quarter-final in Al Khor on Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA)

England have a long history of spot-kick misses which normally arise in shootouts, like the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy last summer.

Manager Gareth Southgate is contracted until the next European Championship in 2024 but said he is deliberating over his future in the wake of the World Cup exit at the hands of France.

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