World Cup: Dutch Treat as Ratings Top 88 Percent for Final Group Game

The Netherlands advanced to the second round of the 2014 World Cup.
The Netherlands advanced to the second round of the 2014 World Cup.
 AP

Many Brits preferred to watch Wimbledon and the soccer-mad Spanish were a bit non-plussed but the rest of Europe continues to go mad for the World Cup.

In the Netherlands, dreams of their first-ever World Cup win are driving television ratings sky-high. 8.1 million people watched Team Netherlands third group match against Chile in the tiny country, a jaw-dropping 88.4 percent of the viewing audience.

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The rating was a high-water mark in the Netherlands or the tournament so far, beating the 7.2 million that watched the Dutch bash defending champions Spain 5-1 and the 7.9 million that cheered them to a 3-2 win over Australia. After dispatching Chile 2-0 Monday night, the Dutch have advanced to World Cup favorites, a position that's certain to keep fans glued to their sets in the tournament's final weeks. 

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In contrast, viewership in Spain and the UK slipped sharply after two straight losses for both nations meant they had no hope of advancing to the second round. ITV's coverage of Cameroon v Brazil on Monday drew just 5.3 million viewers on average, a 26.9 percent share while the simulcast Croatia v Mexico match pulled a paltry 839,000 viewers, a 4.2 percent share and the lowest rating of any World Cup match on UK television this year. More Brits preferred to watch Wimbledon defending champion Andy Murray in his opening match of the tennis tournament, with a peak of 2.2 million, or 35.6 percent, cheering the Scots star on to a straight-sets victory.

Soccer hasn't completely faded from view in the UK, however. A peak of 6.9 million viewers watched ITV's Cameroon v Brazil coverage and even the early evening Netherlands v Chile match drew 5.4 million fans at its high point.

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France's national team has already qualified for the second round and Gallic viewers appeared to be taking a temporary break from back-to-back soccer action. The Cameroon v Brazil match was the top-rated of the night, pulling in 5.6 million viewers, for a 29.2 percent share on TF1 but it was beat for the night by the latest episode of Criminal Minds, which topped the French ratings with 6.1 million viewers, a 24.2 percent share.

In Italy, a respectable, if not record-breaking, 5.72 million caught Cameroon v Brazil on public broadcaster RAI 1, a 27.8 percent share. Millions more likely watched on pay-TV network Sky Italia, whose figures were not immediately available.

The Germans, waiting in eager anticipation for Wednesday's match up against the USA, were more loyal. Cameroon v Brazil drew 10.33 million viewers, a respectable 44.2 percent share although short of the 15.87 million German viewers who watched. The earlier Netherlands v Chile match failed to hit double digits, pulling in 9.25 million viewers for a 44 percent share.

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