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World Cup Quarterfinals Deliver Big Numbers for Fox Sports

  • France-England match draws 8.5 million audience.
  • Argentina-Netherlands averages 6.4 million.
Argentina players celebrate after scoring and advancing in the World Cup knockout round
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports grabbed the two most-watched men’s quarterfinals on record, setting up a big finish for its 2022 World Cup coverage from Qatar.

The network’s coverage of France’s 2-1 win over England Saturday was the most-watched men’s quarterfinal on record, averaging 8,855,000 viewers. 

That was up 39% from the previous mark of 6,386,000 for Russia vs. Croatia in 2018.

Meanwhile, Fox’s coverage of superstar Lionel Messi and Argentina’s shootout victory over the Netherlands on Friday averaged 6,440,000 viewers – making it the second most-watched men’s quarterfinal on record. 

  • France vs. England peaked at 11,717,000 viewers between 3:45 and 4 pm ET Saturday. Argentina vs. the Netherlands peaked at 9,252,000 viewers between 4:45 and 5 p.m. ET on Friday.
  • Morocco’s stunning 1-0 upset of Portugal drew 5,624,000 viewers on Saturday morning, up 17% from the equivalent match in 2018 (England vs. Sweden).
  • Croatia’s surprising shootout victory over soccer powerhouse Brazil Friday morning averaged 4,481,000 viewers. That was up 67% from the comparable match in 2018 (France vs. Uruguay).

The World Cup’s strong TV performance impacted CBS Sports competing Army vs. Navy game telecast Saturday. 

The annual football game between the two U.S. military academies averaged 6.94 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch. That’s the smallest number for the game in its traditional stand-alone window since 2014.

With Argentina’s 3-0 win on Tuesday, Messi and Argentina have advanced to Sunday’s World Cup Final in Qatar (10 am ET).