France draws highest TV ratings since 2006 final

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — France’s 5-2 victory over Switzerland drew the biggest World Cup television audience in the country since the Zinedine Zidane era.

FIFA says state broadcaster TF1 had 16.7 million viewers for Friday’s match, which kicked off at 9 p.m. French time.

It was the highest football audience since around 22 million French viewers watched the 2006 final against Italy. Zidane was sent off in his final match before retiring and France lost a penalty shootout.

FIFA has reported high ratings across the world.

In Japan, 34.1 million watched NHK’s broadcast of a 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast in the national team’s first match last weekend.

Germany’s ARD had 24.6 million viewers watching Monday’s 4-0 rout of Portugal.

In Britain, 17.9 million saw England’s 2-1 loss against Uruguay on Thursday.

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