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1.5 million Euro fans for Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (Reuters) -- The Euro 2004 finals are now expected to attract 1.5 million fans to Portugal -- three times the original estimate, event organizers said on Monday.

"When people said more than half a million people would visit Portugal because of Euro 2004 I never believed it," said Portuguese Federation chief Gilberto Madail.

"The estimates we now have say that Euro 2004 should bring over a million and a half people to Portugal," added Madail, also head of the company running the tournament

A total of 1.2 million tickets have gone on sale for Euro 2004, which runs from June 12 to July 4 and is one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Holders France are among the 16 finalists that have qualified for the tournament, which takes place every four years.

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