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Germany vs. Argentina match drew record audiences

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Germany’s victory over Argentina in soccer’s World Cup final drew record audiences, broadcasters ESPN and Univision said on Monday.

About 26.5 million U.S. viewers on both networks watched Mario Goetze’s extra time volley push Germany past Argentina, 1-0, on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro for its fourth World Cup title.

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN said its telecast on ABC averaged 17.3 million viewers, while privately held Univision’s Spanish-language broadcast averaged 9.2 million.

The networks said those figures were records for a World Cup men’s final. ABC’s telecast of the 1999 women’s World Cup final between the United States and China was watched by 18 million.

The total figure for the men’s final was topped by earlier-round matches of the United States and Mexico.

This year’s opening round match between the United States and Portugal drew 18.2 million viewers on ESPN, a World Cup record for the network. Univision set its own record with 10.4 million viewers for Mexico’s round-of-16 loss to Netherlands.

Rising U.S. interest in soccer, as well as a favorable time difference with host Brazil, helped boost audience numbers for the tournament’s 64 matches.

ESPN’s coverage, which includes matches on ABC and ESPN2, averaged 4.6 million viewers per match, topping the average of 3.8 million viewers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

ESPN has lost English-language broadcast rights for the 2018 World Cup in Russia to Fox, and Comcast Corp’s Telemundo has won bidding to televise matches in Spanish.

Brazil coach out

Luiz Felipe Scolari has resigned as Brazil manager after the hosts suffered two of their worst defeats in World Cup history, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Monday.

Scolari’s men were favourites to win the tournament but were demolished 7-1 in the semi-finals by eventual champions Germany. To compound their misery, they lost the third-place playoff 3-0 against the Netherlands.

CBF president Jose Maria Marin confirmed Scolari’s much expected departure in a statement and thanked the experienced coach for helping “rescue the Brazil team’s self-esteem.”