A peak audience of 26.5 million people watched England go out of the World Cup on ITV, according to overnight figures.
That made it the most-watched broadcast on British TV since the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
Wednesday’s audience peaked between 21:30-21:35 BST as England tried to find an equaliser at the end of extra time in the semi-final against Croatia.
But they couldn’t score, meaning Croatia won 2-1 to take them into Sunday’s final against France.
The overall match average for the semi-final was 24.2 million, which doesn’t take into account people watching in pubs or on outdoor big screens.
About 80% of all viewers watching TV in the UK at the time were tuned into the game.
However not everyone could stand the tension and some changed channels.