World Cup ticket sales top 2.45 million

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Organisers have sold 2.45 million tickets for this year's World Cup in Qatar, the world football governing body FIFA said on Thursday, with more than half a million of them sold in the last sales period from July 5-16.

FIFA said the biggest number of allocated tickets were for group stage matches like Cameroon v Brazil, Brazil v Serbia, Portugal v Uruguay, Costa Rica v Germany and Australia v Denmark.

"Fans living in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, England, Argentina, Brazil, Wales and Australia led the way and the digital queues by securing the biggest number of tickets," FIFA said.

The launch date for the next sales phase will be announced in late September, FIFA added. Over-the-counter sales will also start in Doha after the launch of the last-minute sales phase.

The World Cup begins a day earlier than originally scheduled with the opening ceremony taking place before the host nation kick off the tournament on Sunday, November 20 against Ecuador.

It will be the first World Cup staged in the Middle East and has been pushed back to later in the year than its typical June-July schedule to avoid the region's punishing summer heat.

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