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Indian fans buying more World Cup tickets than English - despite India not qualifying

Almost 400,000 World Cup tickets have been sold in the latest FIFA allocation, but England fans have remained reticent buyers.

The latest sales window opened on March 13 and saw a total of 394,433 tickets purchased.

Hosts Russia accounted for the vast majority of that number, with 216,134 going to home supporters, with the North and South America the next best market.

The United States, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil represented the top five overseas nations in terms of sales, with Peru, China, Australia and India completing the top 10.

India, whose national side did not quality for the tournament, accounted for 4,509 sales - meaning English uptake fell below even that modest bar.

Reports last month suggested a total of 28,000 tickets had been sold to English crowds, well down on recent tournament numbers, with business particularly sluggish for the Three Lions' opening game against Tunisia in Volgograd.

The Twitter feed of the Russian National Tourist Office posted the following message on today: "Make your FIFA World Cup 2018 trip a reality. We can help you with flights, hotels, Fan ID, visa, match schedules, insurance, the best places to eat & drink, everything you need to have a wonderful & memorable trip to #Russia".

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings and the subsequent diplomatic expulsions issued by the British and Russian governments.

"Due to heightened political tensions between the UK and Russia, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time," it said.

Last-minute sales will open on April 18 and be available on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the competition.

- PA