England’s World Cup quarter-final is poised to see up to 30 million viewers in the biggest live sport TV audience in the UK since football last came home in 1966.
The Three Lions’ showdown with Sweden is set to be Britain’s most watched programme of all time on a single TV channel – ahead of the London 2012 closing ceremony and Muhammad Ali’s famous fights against Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the 1970s.
Kicking-off at 3pm on BBC One, the last-eight tie could have an average of more than 20 million viewers, along with 40,000 fans at the Cosmos Arena in Samara.
The peak viewing total will be millions higher with many hoping to catch a glimpse of the game in pubs, on big screens and even at the odd wedding reception.
The overall audience is expected to surpass the 29 million people who watched the 1970 FA Cup final replay between Chelsea and Leeds United on BBC One and ITV.
Gareth Southgate’s men could attract more viewers than the EastEnders Christmas special in 1986 when 30.15 million saw Den serve Angie with divorce papers.
A larger number of Britons – roughly 45 per cent of the population – will tune in to watch the football this afternoon than the Apollo 13 landing in 1970.
It’s a Super Saturday of British sport with Kyle Edmund taking on Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, Lewis Hamilton in qualifying action ahead of the British Grand Prix and Chris Froome starting his Tour de France defence all in the space of four frantic hours.
Mirror Sport has you covered for every shot and every race.
Sweden v England (3pm, BBC One, build-up from 2pm)
Chester v Liverpool (3pm, LFCTV, build-up from 2pm)
Russia v Croatia (7pm, ITV, build-up from 6pm)
Wimbledon Day Six (BBC One, 12.15pm-2pm, 5.30pm-6.50pm, BBC Two, 11.30am-9.30pm)
British Grand Prix Qualifying (2pm, Channel 4/Sky Sports F1, build-up from 12.55pm)
Tour de France Stage One (10.15am, ITV4/Eurosport, build-up from 9.30am)