Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
7 July 2021

The most-watched England football matches

Will England vs Denmark surpass the 25 million mark?

By Ben Walker

England will enter tonight’s European Championship semi-final against Denmark with a 70 per cent chance of winning, according to the Elo rating system. Denmark’s 30 per cent chance of victory is similar to Donald Trump’s likelihood of winning the US presidency in 2016.

England versus Denmark will be shown on ITV, not the BBC, and is expected to attract a domestic audience in excess of 20 million viewers. Some 20.9 million tuned in to watch England rout Ukraine 4-0 last Saturday (3 July) and 20.6 million watched England settle some scores with Germany in last month’s 2-0 win (the data excludes pubs and public viewing screens). 

More than 20 million are expected to watch England vs Denmark
Average viewing figures by England football match

In 1966, 32.3 million were estimated to have watched England beat West Germany in the World Cup Final, but owing to methodological differences and unreliable sources, the figure does not feature.

The challenge tonight is whether the audience for England vs Denmark will exceed 25 million. Estimates suggest that 26.5 million watched England fall to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, the highest known audience for an England football match in UK TV history.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

By comparison, some 12.8 million tuned in to watch this year’s Line of Duty finale and 11.6 million watched England’s first Euro 2020 match, against Croatia.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up