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Soccer-U.S., Italy, Mexico will rack up World Cup airmiles

Reuters

SAO PAULO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - United States, Italy and Mexico will total 14,000km-plus in air miles in the World Cup first round while Belgium are the team that will spend the least time on a plane, according to Brazilian newspaper Estado de SP.

The U.S. have chosen to stay in Sao Paulo and must travel 14,326km to get to and from the northern cities of Natal, Manaus and Recife where they face Ghana, Portugal and Germany respectively in Group G.

Italy, based near Rio de Janeiro, will travel 14,126km to play in the same three cities in Group D and Mexico are also due to fly in excess of 14,000km in Group A.

At the other end of the scale Belgium have to travel 1,984km from their base near Sao Paulo.

The Belgians play Algeria in Belo Horizonte, Russia in Rio and then need only take a coach to Sao Paulo for their final Group H game against South Korea, according to calculations made by Estado de SP.

Argentina also have a relatively easy schedule in Group F, travelling 3,590km to and from their base in Belo Horizonte.

The average distance travelled by the teams in the first round is 7,525km. The country closest to the average is host nation Brazil.

With the finals being held in 12 cities, a higher than usual number, some sides face four-hour flights to games.

Pundits have questioned whether Brazil's antiquated airports can cope with the strain of so many visitors and flights during the finals.

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 when Brazil play Croatia in Sao Paulo. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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