More than 21 million people tuned in to see England’s dramatic World Cup win against Tunisia – making it the most watched TV event of the year in the UK.
More than 18 million were glued to their TVs for the match, which saw victory secured thanks to a late winner from Harry Kane.
A further three million watched on iPlayer, BBC presenter Gary Lineker said on Twitter.
The numbers eclipse the viewing figures for last month’s royal wedding, which saw 13.1 million tuning in to see Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day.
Lineker tweeted the statistic on Tuesday, saying it was “astonishing for an opening group game” and putting it down to “the power of football and the World Cup”.
The country breathed a collective sigh of relief when Kane fired home the injury-time winner having endured a frustrating 90 minutes.
England dominated the game and got off to a quick start in Volgograd as the striker opened his account after just 11 minutes.
But they were almost made to pay for a succession of missed chances in the first half.
The Three Lions kicked into gear and came close several times, with Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard both missing easy chances.
But after Kyle Walker conceded a penalty throwing an arm out towards Tunisia forward Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, the game was even at half-time.
With the north Africans happy to take a 1-1 result, England looked as if they were going to pay for their lack of composure as the minutes ticked away.
It was down to captain Kane to swing the game back in their favour with minutes to go, reacting fastest to Harry Maguire’s flick-on to nod home the winner at the far post.
A visibly delighted England manager Gareth Southgate said after the game: “Good teams score late. A great platform to build on.”
Double goalscorer Kane said credit was due to the England players for not giving in.
He said: “Credit to the lads, we kept going. That’s what these games are about – it’s a World Cup – you go until the last second and I’m absolutely buzzing.”
Derby County manager and former England star Frank Lampard said: “We would have won this game before half-time. The first game is the one to win.”
Pundits were full of praise for England’s number 9. Former England striker Alan Shearer said: “The manager gave Harry Kane the captain’s armband for one reason – he’s the go-to player when someone has to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney thanked the England players for his 76th birthday present with a post on Instagram.
England now face Panama on Sunday, with a win or a draw likely to secure a place in the knockout stages.