World Cup 2018: What to buy instead of a £500 England ticket?

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England supportersImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption How £500 can help you support England without leaving home

Tickets for England’s World Cup match against Colombia were selling online for more than £500. But should you refuse to pay more than face value, what else could the cash buy while still watching the national team?

There’s £500 burning a hole in your pocket and, crazy with World Cup fever, you’re going to spend it following England.

For about that sum, you could have bought a ticket for Tuesday’s match against the other South American side in yellow.

But there’s a problem. You’ve left it too late to fly to Moscow and even if there was time, you’ve told your boss three times this year your budgie has died. You’ve got no fake excuses left. There’s only one thing for it – you’re going to have to watch at home, or in the pub.

And yet that £500 continues to burn your thigh. How else to show your commitment? Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.

A hundred pints (give or take)

Image caption “One hundred pints, please, barman – if you have them”

One hundred pints? Why, that’s a round for an entire beer garden – make it rain, high-roller.

But a word of warning: Don’t expect your new friends to remember you in October when the World Cup feels as distant as season one of The Simpsons. You’ll need VAR to recall when you were ever that popular.

Besides, there’s a chance there won’t be enough beer anyway and then what will you do? It’s all round to yours via the off-licence. How we love the 12-packs adorned in generic sporting motifs.

Seven England shirts

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption 21 lions on your shirts?

Okay, seven is not quite a full team, but it’s still 21 lions for you and six friends. And nothing says solidarity like uniform. Not since a stag do visited your local in matching nappies will pub-goers have felt a cause greater than themselves.

Beware, though, the static shocks – that nylon crackle will be louder than the crisp-eating done by friends on TV ads. You know the sort, they spend the World Cup chewing and smiling.

What will you do, though, if white is not your colour? Fear not, there’s a more sartorially elegant option…

Ten Southgate waistcoats

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Touchline chic or best man at a wedding?

Well, it’s ten if they cost £50 a pop, and England manager Gareth has probably spent a bit more on his. But either way, it’s the fashion-craze sweeping the nation, probably.

Wear it done up, with jacket off, and you too could rock his touchline chic – it’s the look of a best man, but one who knows his best man speech will bend the very form.

Two-thirds of the official sticker album

Image copyright PA
Image caption Can you complete for £500?

A sticker scientist worked out how much it costs to fill the book, factoring in the priciest stickers ever, and the odds of getting Giroud 16 times before seeing a glint of a Panama shiny.

With £770 needed to fill the beast, even half a grand won’t see you across the line, leaving you with a few holes in Argentina’s defence – just like the real thing.

And unless you have a pal with a big stack of swaps, you might have to follow the DIY route to complete the collection.

Flags

Image copyright Flora Thompson / PA
Image caption Scaffolders have been keen to show they are behind England

Half a grand will buy you an absolute bundle of bunting.

But do you go for the bijou kind attached to car windows, or the sheet-sized flags large enough to drape a house – or bigger?

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Media captionOne of the mini roundabouts with an England flag

You see, there’s no need to wait until Christmas for street-based one-upmanship. In fact, the World Cup is a sort of Christmas. It’s the summer Christmas.

Whether zealously kept or unobserved, it is the context in which we exist for a few weeks; each commute, each shift, each plan, each chat, somehow fractured through its prism.

And then things go back to the way they were.

Three psychic tortoises

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Media captionEngland v Colombia: ‘Psychic’ tortoise predicts result

The funny thing about World Cups is that animals normally doing animal things start to behave differently. In short, they go psychic.

Once upon a time it was an Octopus who knew the outcome of matches before a ball was kicked. For Russia 2018, tortoises are sticking out their necks to predict results.

Look at this clever clogs who knew Belgium would beat England.

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Media captionA ‘psychic’ tortoise from Jersey predicts Belgium will win over England in World Cup match

A tortoise these days will set you back about £150, so £500 could buy you a trio. Think of it as an investment – if three reptiles yield the same result, you know you’re on to winner and should head to the bookies. It’s a licence to print money, with which you could buy all the waistcoats and psychic animals you want.

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