World Cup: U.S. vs. Belgium Draws Huge Ratings Worldwide

4:10 AM PST 07/02/2014 by Scott Roxborough
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
USA facing off against Belgium in the World Cup

The thrilling knockout match was a hit with international viewers, despite airing after midnight or in the early morning in several territories.

Tens of millions of international viewers tuned in to watch Team USA's heroic defeat to Belgium in Tuesday's knockout match of the World Cup. Despite unfavorable broadcast times in several countries, audience figures were strong across Europe and Asia for the nail-biter, which saw the U.S. hold off Belgium until a pair of goals in extra time ended America's World Cup run.

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Half of the German households tuned into the game, with a peak of 11.62 million watching on public broadcaster ZDF. Judging by the social media buzz in Germany ahead of the match, a majority were backing Team USA, mostly because of their German-born coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, and German-American squad members, including stars Jermaine Jones and Julian Green. The 19-year-old Green scored a spectacular goal for the U.S. on Tuesday, giving American fans the brief hope that team could pull off a last-minute upset.

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In Japan, the Belgium vs U.S. match had a 5 a.m. kickoff time on TV Asahi, but that didn't deter more than 10 million fans from tuning in, 19 percent of the viewing audience.

An estimated 8.62 million Brits, just under 40 percent of the country's viewers, caught the game on the BBC. 4.8 million, or 27 percent, watched in Spain, a figure that jumped to 37 percent in the final minutes of overtime; 3.3 million caught the match in Belgium neighbor the Netherlands, and around 30 percent, a peak of some 6.5 million, watched in Italy on public network Rai.

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