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More than 31million people watch England v Italy Euro 2020 final

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England’s devastating penalty defeat to Italy was the THIRD most watched TV event of all time with 31.1million viewers – only beaten by the 1966 World Cup and Diana’s funeral

More than 31million viewers in Britain watched England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on either BBC or ITV last night, overnight TV figures revealed today.

There was a combined peak audience of 31.1million viewers across the two terrestrial channels, along with an average of 21.8million and overall share of 82 per cent.

It was the third most watched TV event in UK history, behind the World Cup 1966 final at 32.3million and Princess Diana‘s funeral in September 1997 with 32.1million. 

The total audience figure for last night’s broadcast could rise further once statistics for those streaming the game online on BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub are released. 

BBC One attracted a peak of 25million, an average of 17.8million and a 66.7 per cent share, while ITV1 had a 6.1million peak, 4million average and 15.4 per cent share. 

England fans at Boxpark Croydon celebrate Luke Shaw scoring their team's opener last night

England fans at Boxpark Croydon celebrate Luke Shaw scoring their team’s opener last night

It comes after England’s Three Lions, who had united the nation with their run to the final, saw their Euro 2020 dreams shattered last night with a cruel defeat to Italy. 

Three missed spot kicks in a row, after the match finished 1-1 after extra time, handed the trophy to the Azzurri and saw England forced to wait for their first major tournament win since 1966.

Around 70,000 in the crowd at Wembley, along with the huge TV audience, had let out a collective roar when Luke Shaw scored for England after two minutes.

But their optimism dimmed when Italy equalised in the second half and the game moved into a nail-biting extra 30 minutes of play.

Both teams had scant chances to win the game before penalties as the anguished crowd tried to urge the Three Lions to victory.

England fans celebrate the team’s goal at the Trafalgar Square Fan Zone in London yesterday

Some bit their nails and others held their hands in the prayer position as the game reached a penalty shootout.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford pulled off a brilliant save to give England the advantage before Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed their kicks to give Italy the lead in the shootout.

Pickford then pulled off more heroics to deny Chelsea midfielder Jorginho from 12 yards. 

But England teenage star Bukayo Saka, who had been one of the breakout stars during the tournament, had his penalty saved to dash the hopes of millions. 

Fans watch the penalty shootout during the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England at Fistral Beach Bar in Newquay last night

Fans watch the penalty shootout during the Euro 2020 final between Italy and England at Fistral Beach Bar in Newquay last night

At the final whistle, manager Gareth Southgate put his arm around the young Arsenal attacker, 19, and offered words of comfort.

After the game, the tearful players applauded the crowd who had done so much to urge their team on. 

Southgate and the team will be in line for a string of gongs after their wonderful run to the final with calls for the manager at least to be knighted.

But the honour they all wanted slipped from their grasp in the most heart-wrenching of ways. 

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