The 2014 FIFA World Cup match between the United States and Portugal on June 22 set a new ratings record, making it the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.
The United States vs. Portugal match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 22 is now the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.
USA Today's Chris Chase says the game was viewed by more than 18 million people, surpassing the previous record of 17.975 million set during the 1999 Women's World Cup:
"The World Cup thriller between the United States and Portugal on Sunday night was the most watched soccer game in American history.
"ESPN announced Monday that its telecast of the game averaged 18,220,000 viewers. The previous high for a soccer game came in 1999, when 17.975 million viewers watched the U.S. women win the 1999 World Cup final in a game played at the Rose Bowl.
"Viewership peaked at nearly 23 million during the frenzied final minutes of the 2-2 draw.
"The network also set an American ratings record for any men's soccer game. USA-Portugal earned a 9.6 rating (reflecting the percentage of televisions tuned in to the broadcast). That's higher than the 9.5 rating earned by the 1994 World Cup finaly between Italy and Brazil that was also played at the Rose Bowl.
"USA-Portugal was the most watched non-football telecast in ESPN history.
"Approximately 11 million viewers watched last week's USA-Ghana game. The total set a record for a soccer broadcast on an ESPN network and was the ninth-most watched overall. The games that had more viewers, including the 1994 men's and 1999 women's World Cup final, were all broadcast on ABC.
"A broadcast of USA-Portugal on the Spanish language Univision drew 6.5 million viewers, a record for an American game on the network. Combining both the ESPN and Univision numbers means the game had 24.7 million viewers, which had set a new record for any soccer game broadcast in the United States (This mark is held by the 2010 World Cup final, which attracted approximately the same amount of viewers on both ABC and Univision -- the exact number).
"As a comparison, the average late afternoon Sunday football game on Fox averaged 27.2 million viewers in 2013."
The game saw Portugal grab the early one-goal lead in the fifth minute when Nani scored after Miguel Veloso crossed it over to him. However, the United States' Jermaine Jones connected on a 27-yard shot outside the box in the 64th minute for a spectacular equalizer,per USSoccer.com.
U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey, who scored just 29 seconds into the match against Ghana last week, gave the Americans the lead with a shot off his midsection 17 minutes later.
Portugal would not relent, as Cristiano Ronaldo crossed from the right side to connect with Silvestre Varla, whose spectacular header in the waning seconds of extra time forced the draw, according to USSoccer.com.
United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told the U.S. Soccer Federation (via ESPN FC) that his team will not settle for anything less than a win against Germany on June 26.
He said,"We want to beat Germany. We want to be first in our group, so we're not thinking about a tie. We've got to do it the tough way, and we are going to do it the tough way."
Whoever wins Group G -- the bracket the United States and Portugal are under -- will likely go up against Algeria, Russia or South Korea, who are part of Group H, per ESPN FC.
The winner of Group G faces the second-placer of Group H while the team which emerges on top from Group H will square off against the runner-up in Group G. At this rate, it seems Belgium will emerge from Group H as it is still undefeated in two matches, according to the same update.