Japan's prices will have the fans in tears

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The Independent Online

As if being selected to play Argentina, the hot favourites, in the first stage of the World Cup finals is not depressing enough for England fans, they will also be forced to contend with prices in the one of the world's most expensive cities.

As if being selected to play Argentina, the hot favourites, in the first stage of the World Cup finals is not depressing enough for England fans, they will also be forced to contend with prices in the one of the world's most expensive cities.

When Beckham and Co take on Nigeria on 12 June they will be doing so in Osaka, which ties with Tokyo as the world's most costly city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Worldwide Cost of Living survey.

The City of Waters, Japan's third biggest, has the dubious distinction of making London appear cheap. The British capital has risen from 8th to 5th in the Cost of Living survey, but it is still considerably cheaper than some Japanese centres.

Those travelling from Manchester will be even harder hit, the survey suggests. The home of United and City ranks as the 28th most expensive, up from 35th.

Even if you leave aside the air fare and match tickets of £97 upwards, fans can expect to fork out £160 on the taxi ride from the airport and £130 for an average meal for two. A three-course meal for four at a leading Tokyo restaurant will cost as much as £600, while those hoping to pass a few hours on the golf course in Osaka can expect to be charged £130 in green fees.

All of England's games, unless they make it to the third place play-off, will be in Japan, the world's most exorbitant country. A basic hotel room in central Tokyo will cost a minimum of £120 a night, while those seeking some luxury can expect to start at around £250. A quick Scotch in the hotel bar will cost a sobering £10.

Travelling between games is also likely to prove prohibitive for some. Bullet trains may speed along at an impressive 200mph, but they cost a dazzling £150 for a two-hour journey.

Those choosing to watch other nations in Korea will fare slightly better. As the currency has weakened, the comparative cost of living in Seoul has plunged in the past 12 months, from fifth position to 21st.

Though the taxi to the hotel may set fans back only £17, the average meal for two will still be well in excess of £100.

The Economist report had some words of consolation for those smarting at the expense of following their team to Japan. "Of course, some countries' supporters will feel the difference more than others. Whereas England fans will notice a still hefty 33 per cent increase in the cost of living between London and Tokyo, a thought should be spared for any South African fans making the long trek. South Africa has the lowest cost of living of any of the qualifying nations. Tokyo's cost of living is over three times that of Johannesburg," says the report.

London is at its highest ranking in the past decade. While not quite the most expensive city in Europe – that is Oslo, at fourth – it does have the highest cost of living in the European Union.

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