15 million in UK watch England defeat

More than 15 million people in Britain watched England`s 2-1 loss to Italy in their opening World Cup match in Brazil, the BBC said Sunday.

The television audience peaked at 15.6 million people shortly before half-time, said the British Broadcasting Corporation, which carried Saturday`s game.

The match in the rainforest city of Manaus kicked off at 2200 GMT -- 11:00pm British Summer Time, and so did not finish until the early hours of Sunday for viewers in England.

Despite this, the entire programme pulled in an average audience of 11.5 million, making it one of the most-watched programmes of the year so far in Britain, the BBC said.

England has a population of 53 million, with a further 10 million living in the rest of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

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