SAO PAULO (AP) – The remaining tickets for the most important World Cup matches were sold out fast on Wednesday, disappointing hundreds of fans who waited in line across Brazil.
Tickets for the opener, the final and the two semifinals were sold out shortly after becoming available on FIFA's website at midnight Wednesday Brazilian time. All matches in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro also sold out quickly online.
The tickets not sold online would be put on sale at ticket centers across the country the following morning. However, only matches between less prominent teams were still available by the time the centers opened, prompting complaints from many fans who spent the night in line to get a ticket.
About 180,000 extra tickets were made available by FIFA for all 64 matches of the monthlong tournament that begins next week.
There were long waits for people trying to purchase the tickets on FIFA's website. Fans were put on virtual waiting lines before being redirected to the actual ticketing site. Some people had to wait nearly two hours to get in, and by then most of the top tickets had already gone.
Tickets for the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo were sold out in about an hour, as were all those for the July 13 final at the Maracana Stadium.
There were also long lines at the ticket centers in the 12 host cities, with some fans arriving overnight to try to secure one of the remaining tickets.
Many complained that organizers were not prepared for the amount of people that showed up.
"They talk about the disorganization of the Brazilian people but they are those disorganized," Brazilian Alexander Barbosa told APTN in Rio de Janeiro. "Sadly the disorganization is from FIFA and not from the Brazilian people."
By the end of the day on Wednesday, there were tickets left for only about 15 matches. The games with the most tickets still available included Bosnia-Iran in the northeastern city of Salvador on June 25 and Greece-Ivory Coast in the nearby city of Fortaleza on June 24.
A total of about 3.3 million tickets will be sold for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950, according to FIFA. More than 2.5 million tickets had already been allocated, including through FIFA's hospitality programs.
The game's governing body couldn't put all tickets on sale earlier because it didn't have all the seating charts at the most delayed stadiums in Brazil.