World Cup: BBC host Gary Lineker aims dig at rivals ITV over England coverage

Gary Lineker fronted BBC's coverage of England's victory over Wales. (BBC)
Gary Lineker fronted the BBC's coverage of England's victory over Wales. (BBC)

BBC presenter Gary Lineker took a sly dig at rivals ITV after England sealed their place in the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday.

Lineker fronted the national broadcaster's coverage of England's comfortable 3-0 victory over Wales – watched by a peak audience of 18.7 million across BBC platforms – while ITV screened the Netherlands' win over hosts Qatar.

Lineker said: "England finished top and will take on Senegal at 7pm on Sunday. And that's on live on, well... ITV. Oh well."

The former England captain may well have been referencing ITV's record when it comes to broadcasting live games featuring the national side at major tournaments.

England have played 31 major tournament matches since the 1998 World Cup.

Of England's 16 matches screened on the BBC, the national side has won 12, losing just three times.

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - NOVEMBER 22:  The BBC commentary point in the media section in the Lusail Stadium  during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at Lusail Stadium on November 22, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
A BBC commentary point at Lusail Stadium. (Getty Images) (Matthew Ashton - AMA via Getty Images)

This was the second time at this World Cup that an England victory was featured on the BBC following their 6-2 opener against Iran, as ITV had rights to the drab 0-0 draw with USA.

That goalless match was the 16th World Cup broadcast by ITV since 1998, with England victorious only twice in that time.

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On Monday, Qatar's World Cup chief criticised Lineker for refusing to engage with organisers over his forthright views of the tournament, as the BBC presenter refuted any claims that contact had been made.

Hassan Al-Thawadi, who successfully fronted Qatar's World Cup bid, said he was a fan of the former England captain, but hit out at the 61-year-old for failing to make contact "three or four times" – the last being in February – so that he could tell the Qatari side.

Responding on Twitter, Lineker wrote: "Well, this is news to me. Neither my agent nor myself received any request to engage with anyone involved with Qatar 2022. I have my weaknesses, but I'm not that rude. Very odd."

Watch: England's possible route to the final in Qatar