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World Cup: Wales beat England in TV ratings

AL-RAYYAN, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: Gareth Bale of Galler celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between USA and Wales at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
More people watched Wales-USA than England-Iran. (Getty Images)

Wales beat England in the race for more viewers in their opening games at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

England v Iran on BBC One scored an average UK audience of 7.4 million viewers when it aired in the early afternoon on Monday, 21 November.

This fell well short of the amount of people who tuned in to watch Wales take on the USA on ITV with an average of 9.4 million watching the broadcast in the evening. The match had a peak audience of around 13 million.

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An explanation for the large difference could be that the England game occurred during work hours while Wales played in the prime time evening slot. The BBC also said the England game was their most streamed event ever.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: Bukayo Saka of England celebrates scoring during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
England forward Bukayo Saka. (Getty Images)

It was also Wales' first game at a World Cup for 64 years and they pulled out a draw against USA thanks to a late Gareth Bale penalty.

On taking the penalty, Bale said: "Of course you feel the pressure but it's my responsibility, my job to step up and take penalties as the penalty taker. I'm happy to do that and obviously thankful it went in."

The former Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur winger added: "Our second-half performance was fantastic. It gave us a lot of confidence. Now it's all about recovering and let's get going again."

Wales' match also aired on the Welsh language broadcaster S4C but their audience data was not included in the ratings figures.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 21: Harry Kane looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
England captain Harry Kane. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, England got their World Cup off to a winning start by beating Iran 6-2 with Bukayo Saka scoring twice as well Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

England manager Gareth Southgate urged his team to do better after they conceded two second half goals: "It's a great start but we're going to have to be better. To win by that margin - to play as we did for the majority of the game - we've got to be really happy. That's a great marker to put down. But we shouldn't be conceding two goals at that stage of the match and we'll have to be right on our game against the States."

England and Wales play each other next Tuesday at 7pm.

Watch below: Gareth Bale comes to the rescue for Wales