Fans stampede for tickets after qualifying win

Frank Dalleres
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ENGLAND supporters have scrambled to find flights and tour packages for the World Cup since Tuesday’s win over Poland confirmed their place at next summer’s tournament in Brazil.

Tour operator Thomson Sport said more customers had booked its packages in the hours immediately following the match than in the entire previous month.

It added that England captain Steven Gerrard’s nerve-banishing second goal caused a 400 per cent increase in traffic to the booking website and prompted 15,000 fans to register interest in the packages, which incorporate tickets for England’s three group games as well as flights, transfers and accommodation.

British Airways, one of only two airlines to fly direct from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro, said it was attempting to free up space for World Cup tourists but was unable to provide specific figures.

“We’re expecting our flights to Rio and Sao Paulo to be very busy during the World Cup 2014 and we’re looking at where we may be able to increase the number of seats for England fans keen to fly out to Brazil,” a spokesperson said.

Fans looking for match tickets can apply through world governing body Fifa when it reopens the ballot process on 5 November. The first period of applications closed last week and there are three further sales windows scheduled after the group stage draw in December.

Individual match tickets start from around £60, while Fifa offers the option to apply for all of England’s three group games for approximately £186, rising to almost double that for better seats.

Thomson’s packages, in conjunction with the Football Association’s official supporters’ group EnglandFans, start at £6,995.

England’s passage to Brazil was only secured by Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley, which ensured they finished top of qualifying Group H.