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Three of the most-populous European countries – England, Spain and Italy – are out of the World Cup but when it comes to ratings, the tiny nations are doing their best to make up the numbers.
Holland, whose soccer team has always punched above its weight on the world stage, drew spectacular figures for Sunday night’s nail-biter against Mexico, with an average of 8.7 million viewers and a market share of more than 89 percent.
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Those numbers inched up in the closing minutes of the match, after the Dutch scored two late goals (one a penalty) to defeat Mexico 2-1. A peak of 9.2 million Dutch fans, around 55 percent of the country’s total population, was tuned in when the final whistle blew. As large at the audience was, it still didn’t make the top five most-watched World Cup games in the soccer-mad lowlands.
Just about the same number of Brits -9.2 million – watched the Netherlands vs. Mexico match on ITV, a 45 percent market share. That compares to under 6.9 million that caught Wimbledon defending champion Andy Murray’s third round win at this year’s tournament on the BBC.
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Proof, perhaps, that while soccer fever has cooled in Britain since England’s exit, the beautiful game is still number one with viewers. Saturday’s dramatic penalty shoot out between Brazil and Chile drew an impressive 12.2 million viewers, a 56 percent audience share, on the BBC.
A jaw-dropping 17.2 million German viewers, 58 percent of the audience, caught the late Dutch victory on pubweb ARD. It was an all-time high for a German broadcast not involving the national side.
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Even Italy, still recovering from the shock of its first-round exit, felt strong enough to tune in for the Brazil vs. Chile match. While the broadcast on public network Rai averaged just 5.44 million viewers (a 37 percent share), that shot up to 8.68 million and 46 percent during the drama of the shootout, which Brazil won to advance.
European viewership is expected to soar even higher on Monday, when both France and Germany play knock out matches, versus Nigeria and Algeria, respectively.
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