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England World Cup 2022 fixtures: Kick-off times and route to the final

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England fan numbers in Doha will be boosted for the quarter-final against France as the Qatar government has eased visa rules for those without tickets.

Relaxations to the Hayya card system coincides with concerns around empty seats at some last-16 ties and will appeal to expat Britons trying to secure a last-minute seat. England’s clash against France was described by sources close to the Qatar government as the “hottest ticket in town”.

Ticket reselling websites are already selling them on the black market for upwards of £350.

However, Ashley Brown, of the Football Supporters’ Association, said many English-based fans were still resisting the temptation to fly out at this stage. “I think numbers for the quarter-final will only increase slightly from round of 16,” he said of those travelling directly from the UK. “Most travelling fans will hold out for the semi-final or final.”

In total, around 3,500 fans who have travelled from England can be expected at the Al Bayt Stadium, but numbers are significantly boosted by local England-supporting fans and expats.

Qatar’s Ministry of the Interior first ruled on Friday that fans should now be able to enter Qatar without a ticket in a shake-up of temporary entry restrictions.

Visitors still have to apply for a Hayya card, however, providing evidence of hotel accommodation and paying a fee of around £100. Fifa said in a statement midway through the group stages that official figures show the average overall match attendance was at 94 per cent.

However, in the less well attended matches, such as Spain’s opening fixture, there have been reports of organisers letting some locals in for free at half-time.

More tickets were said to have been made available ahead of the event as it emerged the broadcasters would need less than expected room.

One issue for fans appears to be cost, with studies showing this tournament is 40 per cent more expensive for match tickets compared to Russia 2018.

Commuting from Dubai has been popular with England fans because of the emirate’s looser alcohol and partying rules.

Sources close to the tournament confirmed tickets remain available directly from Fifa.

Scenes between fans have been largely peaceful, although there were reports of minor altercations between supporters during Sunday’s 3-0 victory against Senegal.

Generally, however, behaviour has been impeccable, with the UK’s national police lead, Chief Constable Mark Roberts, reporting no arrests.

The absence of alcohol in stadiums is believed to have been a factor in improving behaviour. Some fans have complained of issues relating to the Fifa apps, however, with many forced to queue for hours in blistering heat while technical glitches were sorted.

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