England beat Spain at Euro 2012 - on cost at least
England fans will beat Spain, Italy and Croatia at Euro 2012 - at least when it comes down to cost, according to Virgin Money's Football Fans' Inflation Index.
The team might not have a manager yet, and they will also be missing Wayne Rooney for the first two games. However, according to Virgin Money's research, England fans can expect to beat defending champions Spain on cost, spending £1,273 less than their Spanish counterparts to follow their team all the way to the Euro 2012 final on 1 July in Kiev.
Analysis shows England will start badly - as one of the most expensive teams to follow - but will gradually become better (and cheaper) to end up finishing mid-table. Disappointingly, England fans will lose out narrowly to German supporters, who will spend £57 less to follow the 2008 runners-up to the final.
Getting through all three Group D games against France, Sweden and the Ukraine will cost England fans around £2,122, with the opening match against France in Donetsk costing around £819.
A combination of playing two of their group games in Donetsk - which is the least expensive venue - plus lower costs later in the tournament, would send England fans to the final spending just £383 more than fans of host nation Ukraine. A run of games for Ukraine in the most expensive location (Kiev) means that its fans will spend £3,943 - more than fans from Greece and the Netherlands should they get to the final.
Researchers based costs on a three-night hotel stay, travel, food and drink, tickets and a new replica shirt for the tournament. England fans pay the least for replica shirts at £44.99 a time while the Russians pay the most at £59.99.
Early reports suggest only around 6,000 of the 30,000 tickets available to England fans have been sold with UEFA warning about profiteering in Ukraine and potentially empty venues.
Simon Hall, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: "Some fans might say that seeing England lift the Euro 2012 trophy would be priceless. But the costs will certainly mount up if - against the odds - England do make the final. To keep costs down, fans need to make sure they aim to get the best deals possible. A first Euro Championship win for England will last forever, but you don't want the debts to last forever as well."
Country Total Cost Of Making The Euro 2012 Final
Czech Republic £4,980
Republic of Ireland £5,131
Virgin Money research shows the average cost of a three-night stay, checking in the night before the game in the cheapest hotel in Donetsk, where England kick-off against France, is around £114 making it the cheapest of the venues. Kiev, where England play Sweden, comes in at a more expensive £660.
Fans can spread the cost of following England - or their local team - by using Virgin Money's 0% for 20 months balance transfer credit card. The card charges a 2.98% fee for transferring balances and rises to 16.8% at the end of the 0% offer.
Virgin Money's Football Fans' Index has tracked the cost of following UK football since January 2006 and is aimed at helping supporters keep track of the rise and fall in the costs of supporting their team. The company identifies the match day essentials fans buy and keeps tabs on increases and decreases. At the launch, the match day basket of goods cost £77.95. However the most recent analysis puts the cost at £112.87 - a rise of almost 45% per match day.