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The football focus is switched this weekend to another set of World Cup qualifiers, including Holland v Scotland and Portugal v Sweden.

Applications for World Cup tickets have passed the one-million mark five days before the first phase of sales closes, FIFA has confirmed.

The figure excludes applications made by South African residents through bank branches across the country.

Online applications had been received from more than 160 countries, with he biggest number of applicants coming from South Africa, Britain and the United States.

The first sales phase, during which some 743,000 tickets are available to the general public, closes next Tuesday and a lottery in mid-April will determine the successful applicants.

FIFA said the number of applications had far exceeded their expectations although at the same stage of the process for the 2006 finals in Germany, six million applications had been received.

A second sales phase runs from May 4 to Nov. 16 when tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, said FIFA.

The football focus is switched this weekend to another set of World Cup qualifiers, including Holland v Scotland and Portugal v Sweden.

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