US support at the front in ticket rush but Italians stay away

South Africans have bought the most tickets so far for next year's World Cup finals, or 301,601 seats to be precise, marketed at reduced, affordable rates for inhabitants of the host nation. But who would have guessed that fans based in America would be ranked second on the sales list to date?

People in the United States (not necessarily US fans) have ordered 73,441 tickets, which is more than in Britain (42,907 tickets, sold mostly to people based in England, then Scotland), Germany (30,880) and Australia (15,038).

There has been relatively little interest yet from fans based in Italy, home of the reigning champions (6,603), Brazil (5,777) or France (5,106).

In total, 630,021 tickets were ordered in the first sales phase between 20 February and 31 March this year. Sales phase two is underway and lasts until 16 November. Tickets in this phase are available on a first-come, first-served basis via the Fifa website (www.fifa.com), and can be ordered for individual games, protagonists as yet unknown.

Prices range from £56-£112 per game in the group stages and up to £620 for the final. South African residents have access to cheaper tickets, starting at £10 per game, with final seats costing £77-£440.

It is also possible to order "Team Specific" packages of tickets, to follow a named nation if they qualify. England fans be warned: England TSTs are already heavily oversubscribed. If you have not ordered yet, your best chance could be to apply via the FA England members club (register asap), which will have 12 per cent of seats for each England match. Fans of other nations, including Scotland, both Irish sides and Wales, still stand "a good chance" of getting TSTs if applying now. You only pay if your team qualifies.

There are 3m tickets available for the 64 games at the tournament, which begins in 363 days' time and ends on 11 July in Johannesburg.

The third phase of ticket sales (from 5 December 2009 to 22 January 2010) will be hotly contested because the participants will be known. At that stage, applications can be made online and a random draw will allocate tickets, where still available. Sales phases four (Feb to April) and five (April to 11 July), will both run on a first-come, first-served basis.

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