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FIFA opens last phase of ticket sales

SAO PAULO -- Tickets for nearly two-thirds of the World Cup matches were sold out within hours of FIFA opening the final online sales phase on Tuesday.

Five hours after sales opened on FIFA's website, there were tickets available to only 20 of the 64 matches. Only 15 matches still had tickets available 10 hours into the sales phase.

FIFA said 126,837 tickets were requested within the first four hours. Football's governing body had put nearly 200,000 tickets on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis in this last phase.

"With less than two months to go, this is the last chance for fans to secure their tickets for football's flagship event," FIFA marketing director Thierry Weil said.

The match with the most tickets still available was Bosnia-Iran in the northeastern city of Salvador. There were also plenty of entrances left for Greece-Ivory Coast in the nearby city of Fortaleza and for Nigeria-Bosnia in the wetlands city of Cuiaba.

Only a few second-round matches remained on sale late Tuesday.

Ten high-demand matches were not available from the beginning, including the Brazil-Croatia opener on June 12 and the final at the Maracana on July 13. The other eight matches were: Mexico-Cameroon, England-Italy, Argentina-Bosnia, Brazil-Mexico, Spain-Chile, Cameroon-Brazil, Croatia-Mexico, and Australia-Spain.

FIFA said Brazilian citizens got 63 percent of the tickets (80,496) on Tuesday, followed by fans from the United States, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Mexico, France, England, Chile and Australia.

A total of about 3.3 million tickets will be sold for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950. FIFA said more than 2.5 million tickets have already been allocated, including through FIFA's hospitality programs. The general public has purchased about 1.5 million.

FIFA is expected to put more tickets on sale as soon as it knows more about the seating charts at the venues that still haven't been completed. Of the 12 World Cup stadiums, three are yet to be finished, including the one hosting the opener in Sao Paulo.

Ticketing centers will open on Friday, but tickets can only be purchased over the counter beginning on June 1. This last sales phase will remain open until the day of the final.

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