England fans’ apparent apathy towards the national team and next year’s World Cup finals in Russia has been illustrated by a lack of ticket requests.
FIFA has told Press Association Sport that English supporters rank a lowly 16th on the list of nations requesting tickets for the game’s showpiece tournament.
By contrast England fans were ranked the fifth-highest in attendance at the previous World Cup in Brazil.
Given that only 23 countries have qualified for next year’s finals so far, the figure would appear to show many fans have lost interest in the team following their underwhelming recent displays.
Gareth Southgate’s side needed an injury-time goal from Harry Kane to beat Slovenia at Wembley and seal their place at Russia 2018 last Thursday.
They then laboured to another 1-0 victory in Lithuania on Sunday thanks to another Kane goal, this time from the penalty spot.
The memories of England’s failure at previous major tournaments — they failed to get out of the group stage in Brazil and were dumped out by minnows Iceland at Euro 2016 – could also be a factor.
Then there is the fear of potential violence after England fans were targeted by Russian hooligans in France last year.
Yet England did rank in the top 10 for ticket requests prior to the final round of qualifying matches.
FIFA revealed that 3,496,204 tickets have been requested after the first sales period, which concluded on Thursday.
Most of the applications have come from Russia while German, Brazilian, Argentinian, Mexican, Colombian, Egyptian and Polish fans all rank in the top 10 along with supporters from the USA and China — despite neither country qualifying.