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Two-thirds of remaining World Cup matches sold out

Photo: Friedemann Vogel/FIFA/Getty Images

Arena de Sao Paulo will host the World Cup's opening match -- one of the most sought-after games of the tournament.

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

Five hours after sales opened Tuesday on FIFA's website, tickets were available for only 20 of the 64 matches.

The match with the most tickets still available was Bosnia-Iran in the northeast city of Salvador. Only a few second-round matches remain on sale.

FIFA put nearly 200,000 tickets on sale in the final phase on a first-come, first-serve basis. Ten matches were not available, including the Brazil-Croatia opener and the final at Maracana Stadium.

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.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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