Soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport across the world. Billions of fans and casual viewers tune in to watch matches all throughout the year and come together for major competitions. There have been some truly epic matches that have captivated the world and broken viewing records of any sport broadcast ever. Like the World Cup – there is no other sporting competition that brings people together to watch a sporting event, even if they have no idea what’s going on!
Below we have highlighted the top five most watched soccer matches of all time!
5. 2006 World Cup Final – Italy vs France
A combined global audience of 715 million viewers across the world.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup final was a highly anticipated match between Italy and France. The Italian team had been strong throughout the tournament winning all of their matches up until the final against France. Italy had already won three tournaments, so the odds were in their favor. France on the other hand had a rocky start to the tournament, but had gained momentum in the knockout stages led by Zinedine Zidane. The match included the controversial incident when Zidane headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi in the chest during extra time after he made foul statements about Zidane’s family. The match led to a shootout, where both teams were tense and missing the net. When France’s Davis Trezegut hit the crossbar, Italy became champions for the fourth time and the most successful team in history.
The match was an unforgettable one that showcased soccer skill and drama at its finest. It remains the fifth most watched soccer match of all time, and is remembered by the iconic nations that got to play each other!
4. 2010 World Cup Final – Netherlands vs Spain
A combined global audience of 909 million viewers across the world.
The 2010 World Cup was the first to ever be held in Africa. Many would argue that the final match of the tournament demonstrated Total Football at its best as both teams played their own style of the game. Up until this competition, Spain had never made it past the quarterfinals, and the Netherlands had made it to the final three times but had never lifted the trophy. The Netherlands had won every match up until the final, however the Spanish team was the favorite to win. In the 116th minute of the final, Andres Iniesta scored the decisive goal for Spain with a low shot from inside the penalty area, giving them the win with a 1-0 score!
The match was Spain’s first ever World Cup title, and holds a record number of viewers. The match also saw a record number of yellow and red cards with some players being sent off the field throughout the match. The Dutch team was criticized for their aggressive physical play in the final, but it made for an entertaining time for the fans!
3. 2014 FIFA World Cup Final – Argentina vs Germany
A combined global audience of 1.013 billion viewers across the world.
Facing each other in a World Cup final for the third time, Argentina was back to face off against Germany. Argentina’s hopes were high because they had star player Lionel Messi along with many world class players on their side. However, they struggled to make it past the semifinal, but won in a shootout against the Netherlands. Germany, on the other hand, made it to the final after beating the host country Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal, dismantling the World Cup champion record holders. In the final, fans were waiting for Messi to find the back of the net, but unfortunately no one ever did. Until the 113th minute Mario Gotze received a cross and volleyed the ball past Argentine goalkeeper to mark their fourth World Cup win.
The final was notable for the high level of technical skills and tactics that were played by both teams, and the fact that I became the most viewed soccer tournament to date with just over a billion viewers!
2. 2018 FIFA World Cup Final – France vs Croatia
A combined global audience of 1.12 billion viewers across the world.
After France’s heartbreaking loss at the 2016 Euro tournament, they knew this was the time to make a comeback. Both Croatia and France had a very strong attacking style of play, but also very different strategies. Croatia controlled the game from the start, but France was first to score a goal in the first half. Both of the teams went back and forth consistently creating opportunities to score, but ultimately France won the match 4-2. Both teams are applauded for the entertaining display they put on with non-stop action and goals.
Most notably, the final saw 19 year-old Kylian Mbappe become the second teenager to score in a World Cup final ever, and, for the second time in history, over a billion people watched the final match of the tournament!
1. 2022 Qatar World Cup Final – Argentina vs France
A combined global audience of 1.5 billion viewers across the world.
It’s no surprise that the latest World Cup final is the most watched soccer match of all time. After Lionel Messi announced this might be his last World Cup, all eyes were put on the Argentina team. According to estimates, close to 5 billion people viewed the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and 88,966 fans got to see the final live from Lusail Stadium. The match had fans of both countries on the edge of their seats, as it was anyone’s game. Argentina was in control for most of the match with two goals by half-time, but France produced a string of comebacks with two goals coming late in the second half by Kylian Mbappe. In a breathless extra time eventually leading to a shootout, Argentina became victorious with a 4-2 penalty score.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup will be remembered by many as one of the greatest of all time, and will most likely stay as the most watched soccer match until the next World Cup!
Do you have a favorite player or moment from one of these matches? If so, head on over to SoccerCards.ca to commemorate those memories with some memorabilia! Fully stocked with apparel, SoccerStarz, sticker albums, and more, there is something for every fan to enjoy.
- Tags: LIFESTYLE