MORE people in Bradford will take sick days during the World Cup than in any other part of the country, says a study carried out by bookmakers William Hill.

According to the Three Thousand Lions report, seven per cent of fans in the city will either definitely or probably skip work or lectures to watch a game from the tournament in Brazil at some point - the highest figure in England.

Representatives of William Hill were in Bradford today to see if World Cup fever was gripping the city ahead of tomorrow's first game between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo.

Rupert Adams, of William Hill, said: "We would normally expect every third car to have an England flag and people to be wearing England shirts.

"But there's nothing. Expectations have collapsed, no-one cares.

"We are trying to boost everyone's excitement - but it has been difficult."

He added: "We have been to ten cities and are yet to find someone in an England shirt - it's maybe one of the least expectant World Cups ever."

The study also found that 66 per cent of fans in Bradford expect to watch England play during the tournament, with 68 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women intending to watch all of England's games.

Twelve per cent of supporters in Bradford intend to pray for England at some point - even though seven per cent of them are not religious.

A little more than one in ten people said they will watch England in the pub, while 16 per cent claimed that superstitions meant they had to watch England from the same seat, with the same people, and wearing the same item of clothing.

An England defeat will leave 64 per cent of fans in Bradford feeling genuinely disappointed, while 37 per cent will feel their stress levels increase while Roy Hodgson's men play. And 14 per cent believe they will have an argument with a partner or loved one as a result of watching the World Cup.

Finally, Bradfordians reckon ITV anchorman Adrian Chiles will be the most irritating presenter.

Mr Adams added: "This gives us a snapshot of how a huge sporting event can affect our lives. Not just for ardent England fans, but even those who aren’t really that interested. We can’t escape the World Cup and our research clearly shows that for some people it is a temporary life-changing event."

Some pubs in Bradford have got into the World Cup swing. Stuart Carr, of the Turf pub on Keighley Road, Frizinghall, has sewn flags of all 32 nations together to form a striking 32ft by 12ft montage, which he hopes will prove a real talking point for footy-mad customers.