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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Germany win World Cup vote
Sepp Blatter ceremonially hands the World Cup to Franz Beckenbauer
Sepp Blatter ceremonially hands the World Cup to Franz Beckenbauer
Germany will host the 2006 World Cup after beating favourites South Africa in a head-to-head vote at Fifa headquarters in Zurich.

The surprise announcement was made by Sepp Blatter, president of world football's governing body.

England's bid had been eliminated in an earlier ballot, along with that of outsiders Morocco.

After two rounds of voting South Africa and Germany were neck and neck with 11 votes each.

  Final vote
Germany 12
South Africa 11
Abstained 1
But in the third and final ballot, Germany claimed 12 votes, with South Africa receiving 11. There was one abstention.

"It was the closest it could possibly be," said Blatter, who has been an outspoken advocate of the South African bid.

It will be the 10th time football's showpiece tournament will be held in Europe. It has never been staged in Africa.

England's campaign team
England's campaign team nervously await the verdict
"Before the meeting was officially open I said to the executive committee: 'Make history! Take the World Cup to Africa!'" Blatter said. "Eleven followed me, 12 did not."

England mustered five of the 24 first round votes - but in the second stage of the ballot, with Morocco out of the race, the English bid managed just two votes.

Germany made an impressive late surge in the campaign - culminating in a star-studded presentation to the 24 Fifa delegates on Wednesday, which mixed glamour with political clout.

  First round voting
Germany 10
South Africa 6
England 5
Morocco 3
Bid ambassador Franz Beckenbauer was joined in Zurich by some world-famous figures, including supermodel Claudia Schiffer, tennis star Boris Becker and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

"Actually I'm surprised," said Beckenbauer. "It was a very close result. We'd hoped for this but we couldn't expect it.

"We are very, very happy," said Beckenbauer adding that the bid had "a little luck".

England's first-round support is understood to have come from Scotland's David Will as well as Charles Dempsey of New Zealand and the three Central American representatives.

South African bid mastermind Danny Jordaan congratulates Beckenbauer
South African bid mastermind Danny Jordaan congratulates Beckenbauer
Will is thought to have then switched allegiance to Germany, with Dempsey choosing not to vote in the final round.

Sir Geoff Hurst, who was at the core of England's bid, admitted his disappointment.

"I think by the very nature of this process and the campaign, today was going to be a fantastic one for our country and our bid team, or a hugely disappointing one...and that's what has happened.

  Second round voting
Germany 11
South Africa 11
England 2

"It's hard to assess how Germany have done it, but congratulations to them.

"We all know they will provide a great World Cup in 2006 because they are a major footballing power."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Former sports minister Tony Banks
"You've got to go in and do your best"
The BBC's Gordon Farquhar on why South Africa failed
BBC Radio 5's Gordon Farquhar: "The Fifa executive were not prepared to take the risk"
The BBC's Neil Bennett in Zurich
"South Africa have been running as favourites"
http://news.bbc.co.uk
"Sir Bobby Charlton told Fifa he had a huge personal commitment to England's bid"
http://news.bbc.co.uk
announces that Germany will host the 2006 World Cup
http://news.bbc.co.uk
"Germany will be a great host"
See also:

06 Jul 00 | Sports Talk
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | Football
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
05 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
04 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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