Hundreds of football fans queued outside World Cup ticketing centres around South Africa overnight Wednesday even before the start of over-the-counter ticket sales at 9 am (0800 GMT).
With less than two months to go to kickoff in Johannesburg June 11, there are around 500,000 tickets still available, covering all 64 matches including the final.
World Cup organising body FIFA is hoping that South Africans, who have already bought nearly one million of the 2.2 million tickets sold so far, will buy even more as the purchasing process becomes easier.
Sales to European fans have been disappointing, with many choosing to sit this cup out for financial reasons or because of their concerns about high crime rates in South Africa.
Until now, fans could only apply for tickets through the internet or the branches of South Africa's First National Bank group. In previous sales phases, the actual tickets were not distributed.
But they are now available for collection at the 11 ticketing centres in nine host cities that are opening to the public Thursday.
In Johannesburg's business district Sandton, around 600 people had joined a queue outside Laico Isle shopping centre, where one of the ticketing centres is situated, local 702 radio station reported.
Some had begun queueing Wednesday afternoon to try to secure tickets to some of the games most in demand, such as the opening game between South Africa and Mexico and the final.