England’s 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals on Saturday night was the most watched television event of the year in the country so far according to statistics.
A brace from Harry Kane and further goals from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson saw the Three Lions easily book a place in the last-four and keep alive their dream of winning a first major tournament since 1966.
They next face Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday as they look to set up a final against either Spain or Italy on Sunday July 11.
And according to the BBC’s viewing figures football fever appears to have gripped the nation, with a staggering peak TV audience of 20.9m tuning in to watch Saturday’s match – 81.8% of available viewers.
The match also received 5.2m live streams across BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online – but the record is likely to be smashed in the fixture against the Danes.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, England manager Gareth Southgate said his dream is now to go even further and win the whole tournament.
“It’s fabulous,” he said of the game. “I suppose it’s still sinking in that it’s another semi-final – three in three years. We want to go two steps further.
“It’s fabulous for our country – a semi-final at Wembley. Everyone can really look forward to that – it’s brilliant.
“I know what will be happening at home. It’s lovely to see everyone on a Saturday night, beer in hand. They should enjoy it. It’s been a long year for everyone.
“I’m chuffed the two performances [against Germany and Ukraine] have brought so much happiness to people.”
Continuing on the topic of his squad, he added: The players have been fantastic. To play as well as they did in a game with so much resting on it was impressive.
“We’ve known we had players we needed to look after physically. We know across seven games, the squad is so important, trying to give people a breather at the right time.
“We learned a lot from Russia in that instance. We were trying to balance players with knocks and yellow cards.”