England’s eventful 2-0 win against Cameroon to seal safe progress to the Women’s World Cup quarter-final was watched by a record-breaking audience.
The number of people watching England’s win peaked at 6.9m viewers on BBC One on Sunday afternoon, a record audience for a women's football match in the UK.
That figure breaks the previous record for a women’s match, 6.1m people watched England’s win against Scotland in their first group game, and was 40.5 per cent of the available audience.
The BBC also received an additional 640,000 requests to watch the game on BBC iPlayer and online.
The match was not short on entertainment or controversy as Cameroon produced an on-field display that had England manager Phil Neville seething at full-time.
Cameroon’s players refused to play in protest at England’s second goal being awarded after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review found there was no offside involved in Ellen White’s goal to double England’s lead.
Steph Hughton put England ahead, but now faces a fitness battle to be ready for the next game after a shocking tackle at the end of a match that will be remembered for a number of controversial incidents, including Toni Duggan being spat on.
“All the young girls and boys watching us play a game with that kind of behaviour,” said Neville.
“I didn’t enjoy the game and neither did my players. I think it’s pretty sad. I can’t gloss over it and fudge it. I have to tell the truth. I’m so proud of their behaviour in circumstances I’ve never seen.”
“I came to this World Cup to be successful but also to play a part in making women’s football globally more visible and better, to put on a show for the world to see it’s improving and getting to a better level of excitement," he added.
“I sat through 90 minutes and felt ashamed. I’m proud of my own players performances and behaviour under circumstances I’ve never seen before. I was completely and utterly ashamed of the behaviour of the opposition.”
England will play Norway in the quarter-final on Thursday 27 June.
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