The United States’ 2-2 World Cup draw with Portugal is almost certainly the most-viewed soccer match ever in the United States.
The Nielsen company said Monday that the gripping game was seen by an average of 24.7 million viewers Sunday evening on ESPN and Univision. That matches it with the 24.7 million U.S. viewers who watched the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.
U.S. vs. GermanyThursday, 10 a.m.
TV » ESPN
ESPN said an additional 490,000 people streamed coverage of the game on their mobile devices through the company’s app. Streaming numbers for 2010 weren’t immediately available, but it’s very unlikely it reached that level.
Many factors were in place to make it a big night for soccer on television. It was an exciting game, interest in the U.S. team was high because of the first-game victory against Ghana and World Cup viewing in general has been up.
With a Sunday evening time slot, the game was on at a time many Americans were available to watch.
ESPN said the 18.2 million people who watched on the sports network made it the most-watched non-football — that is, American football — event in the network’s history. The telecast hit a peak of nearly 23 million viewers between 5:30 and 6 p.m. MDT.
The 6.5 million people who watched on Univision represented the highest viewership for a match involving the United States ever on the Spanish-language network.
Klinsmann: No deal for tie with Germany
American players still were showering off the sweat from the steamy Amazon night in Manaus, Brazil, when the first questions about a possible conspiracy were asked: Would the United States and Germany try to play to a tie Thursday that would guarantee World Cup advancement to both nations?
Following Portugal’s 95th-minute goal in a 2-2 draw Sunday, the Americans and Germany both have four points. Portugal and Ghana have one apiece.
A draw on Thursday in Recife would clinch first place in Group G for the Germans, who have a superior goal difference, and second for the U.S.
Portugal and Ghana, which play simultaneously in Brasilia, would be eliminated.
Add in that U.S coach Jurgen Klinsmann helped West Germany win its third World Cup title in 1990. And that he coached Germany to third place in the 2006 tournament. And that his top assistant then was Joachim Loew, who is now their homeland’s coach. It’s more than enough to send the suspicious into overdrive.
"I don’t think that we are made for draws, really, except if it happens like tonight — two late goals, last seconds," Klinsmann said. "I think both teams go into this game and they want to win the group."
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