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BBC wins World Cup final TV battle with ITV

Nearly 18 million tune in for Spain victory.

The BBC's live coverage of the World Cup final match between Spain and Holland peaked at 17.9 million viewers and a 60 per cent share of the audience just before 10pm on Sunday.

BBC's rival broadcaster ITV attracted only 3.8 million between 10pm and 10.05pm, a 13 per cent share of the audience.

Spain's 1-0 victory over Holland was watched by an average 18.4 million viewers and a 66 per cent audience share across BBC1, BBC HD, ITV1 and ITV1 HD between 7.30pm and 10.05pm.

The BBC said it had attracted the highest audience for a World Cup final since France won the tournament in 1998. It added that its viewer figures were up 1.2 million compared to those of 2006.

The World Cup final was the second most-watched match of the tournament in South Africa, after England's draw with Algeria, which attracted an average of 18.848 million viewers (69.8 per cent) on ITV1 and ITV HD on 18 June.