Two thirds of World Cup matches sold out

By Tales Azzoni

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 12 2014 11:40 a.m. MDT

This photo released by Portal da Copa shows Arena da Amazonia stadium on the day of its inauguration in Manaus in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, Sunday, March 9, 2014. Three stadiums still have to be finished, including the one hosting the opener in Sao Paulo in about three months.

Jose Zamith, Portal da Copa, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

SAO PAULO — More than two thirds of the World Cup matches have been sold out less than three hours after FIFA opened new ticket sales on Wednesday.

Tickets for all Brazil matches were gone in about an hour, as were the ones for all the quarterfinals and nearly all second-round matchups in the June 12-July 13 tournament.

Only about 20 matches involving less traditional teams remained available for purchase on FIFA's website.

This phase is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the four highest-demand matches of the 64 did not offer tickets — the opener in Sao Paulo, the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, and the semifinals in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

About 345,000 tickets were available in this stage, which closes on April 1.

FIFA said it expected to release more tickets for all matches in the last-minute sales phase that begins on April 15.

Some Brazilian fans complained of the long wait to purchase tickets on Wednesday, saying it took nearly an hour just to access the online sales platform. FIFA said it had to place fans on a virtual line because of the high demand.

Of the 3.3 million tickets available for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950, more than 2.3 million had been allocated before this latest round of sales, mostly to Brazilian fans.

All matches for England, Germany and the United States also sold out fast on Wednesday, according to FIFA's ticketing website.

The matches with the least demand were Nigeria vs. Bosnia in Cuiaba and Greece vs. Ivory Coast in Fortaleza, which was the host city with the most tickets still available. Matches in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, were the fastest to sell out.

The only second-round match still available was in Brasilia, the capital. Tickets were also being sold for the third-place match there.

Other matches still available on Wednesday were Italy vs. Costa Rica in Recife, and France vs. Honduras in Porto Alegre.

Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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