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June 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It didn’t begin until 11:00 p.m. Saturday British time and ended at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, but the World Cup match between England and Italy attracted 14.4 million viewers or 78 percent of the entire British TV audience Saturday night. The Guardian newspaper said that it represented the biggest audience for any UK TV show this year. The contest, won by Italy 2-1, reached a peak of 15.6 million viewers or 86 percent of the TV audience during the 11:30 p.m. half hour. [By contrast, the game was watched in the U.S. on ESPN by 4.6 million viewers.] Meanwhile, hundreds of viewers dashed off complaints about the serious, unemotional play-by-play description by BBC sports announcer (and former player) Philip Neville. However, the BBC defended their announcer, saying that Neville is "an important, well-respected member of our team" and would "continue to play a key role throughout the tournament."