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Germany

World Cup Tickets Selling Swiftly

Between midnight Monday -- when soccer World Cup tickets went on sale -- and noon Tuesday, 53,000 orders from around 120 countries came in for 300,000 tickets, an average of six tickets per order, said Wolfgang Niersbach of the World Cup organizing committee. Apart from a few technical glitches, when a computer in Frankfurt temporarily shut down, the first phase of ticket sales went smoothly. "The process is not simple, but it's running and we are very happy with the way it's going," Niersbach told reporters at a news conference. Organizers expect more than 30 million demands for the 812,000 tickets that went on sale, mostly online at www.fifaworldcup.com. Applicants are limited to four tickets for up to seven matches, and two tickets for up to three matches in the cheapest price category. Tickets start at €35 ($45.53) and go up to €600 for the July 9, 2006 final in Berlin. But all fans ordering tickets will not necessarily get them, with demand far outstripping supply, and a lottery system will determine the lucky winners. The first phase of ticket sales ends at midnight on March 1. Organizers hope the online system will be used by most applicants. But written requests are also accepted, and Niersbach said 10,000 orders have come in by mail. Four more selling phases will follow.

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