Both Wales and England drew significant audiences for their opening World Cup football matches on Monday as the Home Nations kicked off their campaigns at the Qatar World Cup.
Wales, who haven’t played at a World Cup in 64 years, attracted the biggest screen crowd, with an average audience of 9.4 million watch the team earn a 1-1 draw against the United States on ITV. The match which kicked off at 7pm on the commercial broadcaster was the first for the Welsh national team in the men’s senior World Cup since 1958. The match, which saw the USA ahead for much of the game was levelled at 1-1 by a penalty from captain Gareth Bale in the 81st minute of the match.
England’s high-scoring 6-2 opening encounter win against Iran was the second match of the World Cup and drew an average audience of 7.4 million viewers on BBC One. However, the game kicked off at 1pm during work and school hours and therefore it would be expected that the match would probably have fewer viewers than the primetime match that Wales enjoyed.
England kicked off their campaign with an emphatic win against Iran which equals their best win in a World Cup result and saw five separate goalscorers including Saka who netted two, Bellingham, Sterling, Rashford and Grealish.
Both England and Wales are back in action on Friday in World Cup Group B with this time Wales playing in an early slot, kicking off against Iran at 10am. England on Friday have the primetime honours, on this occasion against the United States at 7pm.
The World Cup runs throughout November and December, with the final played on December 18th.
The first Winter World Cup, the tournament has seen a pause in the Premier League domestic action in England which will return after Christmas.