Watch: Celebs react as England reach Euro 2020 final
More than 25 million viewers watched the final five minutes of England's dramatic victory over Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020.
Figures from audience measurement company BARB, reported by BBC correspondent Lizo Mzimba, reveal that 23.86 million viewers watched the match on ITV or ITV+1.
For the nail-biting conclusion of Wednesday's clash, the figure rose to 25.71 million people.
The numbers position the 2-1 victory as the most watched non-news broadcast since England's last semi-final at a major tournament, when they were beaten by Croatia at the 2018 World Cup.
That match drew a peak audience of 26.5 million viewers.
An audience of 23.86 million viewers watched England beat Denmark in the Euros semi-final on ITV (BARB overnights incl ITV+1)
Most watched non-news event since Croatia knocked England out of the 2018 World Cup
Peak was 25.71m for the last five minutes #ENGDEN #ENG #DEN pic.twitter.com/ki3FyNdPXz
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) July 8, 2021
The huge figures for the England v Denmark match, in which a Simon Kjær own goal and a scrappy Harry Kane rebounded penalty sent England into the final, were the biggest of the tournament so far.
The ratings dwarf the 20.9 million viewer peak for the quarter-final against Ukraine and the 20.6 million peak for the blockbuster match with Germany in the round of 16.
While the numbers are massive, they are still below the 27.1 million viewers who watched Boris Johnson's first COVID-19 lockdown statement.
Meanwhile, in the context of other mammoth sporting occasions, 27.3 million people watched the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
England's victory — securing their first major tournament final since the World Cup win in 1966 — led to an outpouring of excitement on social media, with various celebrities getting in on the action.
Chart-topping singer Adele went viral with a video of her household's reaction to Kane's winning goal, while former England captain David Beckham wrote an emotional message.
He said: "Big night tonight and proud to have been stood there watching Gareth and the boys make history.
"Hard fight to the end, but wow was it worth it. Well done boys and well done to the incredible fans in the stadium and around the country what a night.”
Meanwhile, David Baddiel told BBC Radio 4 the match competed a "redemption arc" for England and Gareth Southgate after the pain of the now-manager's missed penalty at Euro '96.
The comedian, who co-wrote and performed England anthem Three Lions with Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds, has seen the song dominate the charts since the game.
Read more: Baddiel reacts to England win over Germany
He added: “It has been really difficult for a lot of people at the moment and I think the fact England have managed to do this, the relief of all that time is also the relief of the COVID experience and the fact we can have a bit of joy and a bit of celebration.”
England will play Italy in the final at 8pm on Sunday, with both BBC One and ITV1 airing the match.
Watch: Gary Neville takes aim at Boris Johnson in victory analysis