England v Sweden attracts record live online audience for BBC

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by Simon Austin

Almost 20 million viewers watched England’s 2-0 World Cup win over Sweden on Saturday, with a record 3.8 million streaming it live online.

The match, which saw England reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time in 28 years, took an 87.7% share of the TV audience. It peaked at 19.64 million viewers and there was an average audience of 15.8 million.

That peak audience was slightly below the 24m who saw England win a penalty shoot-out against Colombia on Tuesday on ITV. The viewing figures do not take into account the large number of England fans who watched the games in pubs and on big screens around the country – meaning the true figure is likely to have been much higher.

A record number streamed the event on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website, according to the BBC, with 3.8 million live viewers - making it the the most-viewed live programme ever.

Presenter Gary Lineker became emotional after watching a clip of the late Sir Bobby Robson reflecting on England’s 1990 World Cup heartache against Germany. Looking close to tears as the camera panned back to him in the studio, he said: “Sorry, my eye. Bobby, bless him.”

England will play Croatia in the semi-final on Wednesday night on ITV, with both broadcasters showing the final next Sunday.