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ESPN Notches Top Two World Cup Quarterfinal Matches

Despite the absence of the United States in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN and ABC still pulled in big audiences over the July 4th weekend.

Friday’s match between Brazil and Colombia, a 2-1 victory for the host country, averaged 6.35 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched quarterfinal round match in U.S. history, according to Nielsen. The 6.35 million was 11% higher than the previous high of 5.71 for ABC’s coverage of Argentina-Germany in 2010.

Germany’s win over France in the earlier game on Friday averaged 4.89 million viewers on ESPN2.

ESPN’s Saturday coverage of Netherlands’ shootout win over Costa Rica drew 5.79 million viewers to rank as the second-most watched quarterfinal match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. ABC’s early day coverage of Argentina defeating Belgium drew 5.18 million viewers.

Through the quarterfinal round (60 matches), the 2014 World Cup is averaging 4.19 million viewers, tracking 42% higher than in 2010.

The United States, which would no doubt bring in a much larger audience, hasn’t made the quarterfinal round since 2002.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Andre Penner)