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Tickets, tickets everywhere...

While football's World Cup tries its best to take over everyone's lives for a month, banks can't resist getting in on the action.

Goldman Sachs has once again produced its World Cup report, seeking to find a correlation between countries' economic and football success.

This time the report includes Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's dream team and predicts the four semi-finalists (Argentina, France, Italy and Spain). Its author, head of research Jim O'Neill is a committed United fan. Displaying a rare lack of confidence, though, Goldman fights shy of guessing the final winner.

Investors too are keen to show they're on the ball. A report from Neil Rogan, Gartmore's head of international equities, says the stock markets of host nations Japan and South Korea will perform well on the back of the tournament.

Meanwhile in Asia, banks that piled into the corporate hospitality packages are finding themselves with armfuls of tickets they can't even give away. This seems all the worse when genuine fans have been struggling to get tickets.

"We thought they would be like gold dust and went out and just bought far too many," says a banker in Hong Kong.

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