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Armenia failing to woo fans

IRELAND will open their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in a near-empty stadium in Yerevan as local fans are snubbing the game due to high ticket prices.

Giovanni Trapattoni's squad arrived in Yerevan last night and will train at the 16,000 capacity Republican Stadium at 3pm today. Trapattoni is hoping that the timing of the session will help his players acclimatise to the intense heat here as kick-off in the game tomorrow is 4pm Irish time (8pm local).

Ireland's arrival has yet to cause a stir in Armenia and there is even confusion over just who is playing here tomorrow - in the official match posters put up around the city to publicise the game and flog tickets, there is a team picture of the Irish squad but gremlins were at work in the Football Federation of Armenia's PR department as the team photo is of Northern Ireland, not the Republic.

Reports locally claim that Ireland will have 1000 fans at the game who could out-sing the home fans, though Irish support is more likely to be around the 500 mark.

But the Armenians are so far turning their noses up at the game. The FFA initially put tickets on sale for the equivalent of €8 and €16, but in a country where the average monthly wage is €300, that was seen as extortionate and, following a campaign on facebook, ticket prices were slashed to as low as 2000 Armenian Drams (€4).