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December 5, 2009

On sale: 1 million World Cup tickets

ESPN.com news services

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Soccer fans have begun applying for 1 million tickets to 2010 World Cup matches after Friday's draw.

The latest online sales phase opened Saturday, now that the 32 teams know where and when they play first-round matches in South Africa.

Fans must apply by Jan. 22. Twelve percent of the tickets are distributed by national associations taking part. Tickets to oversubscribed matches are allocated by lottery.

The most popular likely will be the June 12 clash in Group C between the United States and England -- the two foreign countries that bought the most tickets in earlier rounds of sales.

South African fans pay $19 for the cheapest seats at group matches. International prices start at $80.

According to organizers' latest figures, 84,103 of 674,403 tickets sold prior to Saturday's phase have gone to the United States, the most of any country besides South Africa. The United Kingdom has the next most at 48,388.

The U.S. plays Slovenia at Johannesburg's Ellis Park on June 18 and completes the first round on June 23 against Algeria in Pretoria. The U.S. has never played either nation.

All three games will be at venues where the U.S. played at this year's Confederations Cup, and all are at altitudes of 3,700 feet or higher. The Americans lost to Italy and Brazil in Pretoria, defeated Egypt in Rustenburg to advance to the semifinals, then took a two-goal halftime lead against Brazil in the final at Ellis Park before losing 3-2.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.