England’s penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Italy in the final of soccer’s Uefa European Championships averaged 29.85 million viewers on UK television, the highest number for an event since 1997.

That mammoth figure for the match takes in the viewership on the BBC, the public-service broadcaster, and ITV, the commercial network, which both showed the match from London's Wembley Stadium, achieving an audience share of 82 per cent.

Italy won 3-2 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 following extra time, giving the Azzurri its second Euros title, and first since 1968.

The BBC drew an average of 25 million viewers for the game, which kicked off at 8pm UK time.

The combined audience for the whistle-to-whistle coverage represents the highest UK TV audience since the funeral of royal family member Princess Diana 24 years ago.

The audience peaked at 30.95 million during the shoot-out, which was settled when Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved the decisive penalty from England’s Bukayo Saka.

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The BBC averaged 17.8 million viewers for its full programme, from 6.20pm to 11.40pm, while ITV got 4 million between 6.30pm and midnight.

However, these numbers do not include the millions who would have watched the game on the broadcasters' streaming services, BBC iPlayer, and ITV Hub, and in pubs and restaurants and on big screens in public spaces.

England’s semi-final triumph over Denmark last week secured a peak audience for ITV of 27.6 million – a record number in terms of viewers for a soccer match for a single broadcaster.

Meanwhile, in Italy, public-service broadcaster Rai secured an average of 18.1 million viewers for the Euro 2020 final.

A further 2.4 million viewers watched the game on pay-TV's Sky Italia, meaning the total came to 20.5 million.

Rai's figure was the largest for any match during the tournament, and the peak was more than 18.5 million during the penalties.

The match also attracted large audiences in other major European markets.

In Germany, public broadcaster ZDF recorded an average viewing figure of 20.9 million, a share of 64.4 per cent.

Telecinco, the free-to-air channel of Spanish media giant Mediaset, secured 6.5 million viewers, a 45.9 per cent, over the first 90 minutes of the match.

Meanwhile, in France, commercial broadcaster M6 drew in an average audience of 11.8 million, and a peak of 13.9 million during the shoot-out.

This is the highest audience in France for a game not involving their own national team since 2018.

BeIN Sports, the Qatar-based pay-TV broadcaster, also showed the final to a French audience.

The final was marred by a number of ticketless fans managing to gain access to the stadium by breaking through barriers and fighting with stewards.

Wembley Stadium confirmed a breach in security while the game was taking place, after social media video footage showed the breach of security.

The BBC has reported that it took stewards until half time to clear a section – designated for disabled supporters – which was full of ticketless fans. 

England’s Football Association has said it will “work with the relevant authorities to take action against anyone who is identified to have illegally forced their way into the stadium".