World Cup organisers tell England fans it is not too late to join Russian party
There were nearly 2,000 empty seats at Sweden-England in tough-to-reach Samara but the semi-final, and final, are in Moscow and there will be tickets.
FIFA is urging England supporters still considering a last-minute trip to Russia 2018 to check the official website for returned tickets from fans of other countries.
The Russian government is also doing its part to tempt Three Lions fans to join Gareth Southgate’s men in Moscow on Wednesday for the semi-final against Croatia by offering a fast-track visa service.
Guess what #England Fans? The 24 hour visa service will stay for as long as #Eng are in the World Cup! That's means you can go to #Moscow! Call us 9am Monday to get your visa + flights & hotel booked! Or email now with your requirements Tel: 0207 985 1234 email@example.com pic.twitter.com/CMF3w9CgqI— visitrussiauk (@VisitRussiaUK) July 7, 2018
Pre-tournament concerns ranging from England’s recent record in summer tournaments to hooliganism have resulted in a significantly reduced England following in Russia so far this tournament.
The country’s enormous size and the costs associated with travelling around the 11 host cities have also played a part in keeping numbers down.
So far, England have played games in Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Moscow’s Spartak Stadium and Samara.
They now have the chance to play two games in Moscow’s 78,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in five days – matches that could see them crowned world champions for only the second time in history.
If they lose to Croatia on Wednesday, they would then play in the third/fourth play-off on Saturday in Saint Petersburg’s 64,000-capacity stadium. Russia’s most tourist-friendly city is also easily accessible from Moscow.
The official match attendance for Saturday’s clash against Sweden in Samara was 39,991, which meant there were 1,979 empty seats – a remarkable number for a World Cup quarter-final.
According to FIFA’s most recent numbers, England fans have bought just over 34,000 tickets. This is the 10th largest international allocation, and the biggest of the four countries still in the tournament, but still behind the United States, Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, China and Australia.
The US topping the international sales list did raise eyebrows prior to the tournament but it soon became clear in Russia that the vast majority of those tickets were bought by American-based fans of the likes Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
Large numbers of tickets, hotel rooms, flights and seats on trains have become available as the German, Mexican and South American challenges have fallen away and those fans have tried to recoup some money.
For all British fans travelling to Russia remember to #BeOnTheBall. UK nationals in need of assistance should call our consular hotline. We recommend saving these numbers on your phone. #FifaWorldCup2018 pic.twitter.com/kjKH6HQLxj— UKinRussia🇬🇧🇷🇺 (@ukinrussia) June 13, 2018
“Fans have the opportunity to purchase and offer their tickets for resale on FIFA.com/tickets until 15 July,” a FIFA spokesperson told Press Association Sport.
“So far, over 95,000 tickets have been resold through FIFA.com/tickets. Hence, fans interested in attending the semi-final match between Croatia and England are encouraged to visit FIFA.com/tickets to check the ticket availability.”