A one-minute peak of 24.4 million viewers at 9.52pm tuned in to see Eric Dier secure England’s first ever penalty shoot-out victory at a World Cup, representing an 81% share of viewing.
It was the highest peak audience for live sport since England faced Portugal in the quarter-final of the European Championships in 2004, when 24.7 million watched the Three Lions tumble out as a result of dreaded penalties.
ITV’s full coverage, which ran from 6.15pm until after 10.30pm, was viewed by 16.5 million, a 69% share of viewing, making it the most-watched TV event since the Olympic closing ceremony in 2012.
The audience during the match itself averaged out at 20.2 million, and a 77% share of viewing.
The broadcaster’s on-demand service, ITV Hub, also enjoyed its biggest audience for a live programme, with 3.3 million simulcast requests.
England now face Sweden in the quarter-final on Saturday 8 July, with the game to be screened by the BBC.