The BBC’s live coverage of the World Cup final trounced ITV’s in the ratings on Sunday night.

More than 18 million TV viewers watched the World Cup final – with an average of 15.1 million tuning into the BBC’s advertising-free coverage, compared with just 3.3 million for ITV, according to unofficial overnight figures reported in the Guardian.co.uk.

Live coverage of Spain’s 1-0 victory over The Netherlands in extra time averaged 18.4 million viewers and a 66 per cent audience share across four channels – BBC1, BBC HD, ITV1 and ITV1 HD – between 7.30pm and 10.05pm.

The BBC1/BBC HD coverage, hosted by Gary Lineker, peaked at 17.9 million (60 per cent) in the five minutes before 10pm, while ITV1/ITV1 HD’s coverage, hosted by Adrian Chiles, reached its peak of 3.8 million (13 per cent) five minutes later.

Full coverage, including pre- and post-match comment and analysis, averaged 12.7 million viewers on BBC1/BBC HD between 6.30pm and 10.35pm.

The equivalent figure for ITV1/ITV1 HD was 2.8 million.