Even though the United States have been eliminated from the World Cup, ESPN’s broadcasts of the tournament’s quarterfinal matches during the Fourth of July weekend set more records for the network.
According to Nielsen, “the Independence Day match between host Brazil and Colombia drew 6.349 million viewers to become the most watched World Cup quarterfinal ever in ESPN and ABC history,” scoring a 3.6 rating. That match saw an insect land on Colombia’s James Rodriguez after he scored his tournament-leading 6th goal on a penalty kick and, more importantly, Brazilian superstar Neymar leaving the game with what was later revealed to be fractured back. Neymar is out for the rest of the tournament and Brazilian captain Thiago Silva will miss the team’s semifinal match against Germany because he received a foolish yellow card during the contest, which was his second before the semifinals.
And ESPN’s telecast of Saturday’s Netherlands vs. Costa Rica match, which the Netherlands won in a dramatic shootout after playing to a 0-0 tie for 120 minutes, “was the second most-watched quarterfinal match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.”
The match had plenty of drama, including a goalie change in the 120th minute. When the Netherlands brought on goalie Tim Krul to contest the penalty shots, he promptly taunted the Costa Rican players, telling them that he knew where they were going to kick the ball. Krul saved two shots, and he sent Holland to the semifinals against Argentina on Wednesday.
According to ESPN, the match reached 1.1 million unique viewers on its WatchESPN streaming service on a Saturday afternoon.