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The race to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022

Netherlands & BelgiumUnited StatesEnglandSpain & PortugalRussiaJapanAustraliaSouth KoreaQatar

On Thursday in Zurich, football's world governing body Fifa will announce the countries it has chosen to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.

There are four bids on the table for the 2018 World Cup, with England hopeful of beating Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Belgium and Russia for the right to host the competition for the first time since 1966.

Five bidders are vying for the 2022 tournament: Japan, Australia, United States of America, South Korea and Qatar.

Here is our guide to the contenders for both editions, starting with the four bids for 2018:

ENGLAND

Main stadium: Wembley, 90,000 (London)
Last World Cup hosted: 1966
Bid leader: Former FA chairman Geoff Thompson
Bid motto: England United, The World Invited
Famous face: David Beckham

David Beckham

Pros: The infrastructure is largely in place and there is an impressive network of stadiums. England also has historic appeal, with Fifa president Sepp Blatter calling it the "motherland" of football. England's bid team also believes it can drive up the commercial revenues of the event, aided by the international appeal of the Premier League.

Cons: The bid has been hampered by a spat with Russia, negative press from the British media and infighting at the Football Association. Former bid leader Lord Triesman also quit in May after he was secretly recorded making allegations about rival bids.

Say what? "If you ask the players where they wanted to play the World Cup in 2018, they would want to play it in this country" - Former England footballer Gary Lineker

Bid chief executive Andy Anson: "Just like Fifa, we believe in the power of football to open up new territories. A tournament in England will deliver a global legacy that will produce greater football and social benefits for more people than ever before."

SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Main stadium: Portugal - Estadio da Luz, 65,000 (Benfica); Spain - Santiago Bernabeu, 80,533 (Madrid)
Last World Cup hosted: Spain - 1982
Bid leaders: Spanish FA president Angel Maria Villar and Portuguese Football Federation president Gilberto Madail
Bid motto: We Play As A Team, United By Enthusiasm
Famous face: Luis Figo

Luis Figo

Pros: Spain's Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010-winning team, plus famous stadiums like the Camp Nou, the Bernabeu and the Estadio da Luz. Spanish FA president Angel Maria Villar has great contacts among Fifa voters and the bid is supported by the South American Conmebol bloc.

Cons: Allegations in a British newspaper of voting collusion with Qatar, though vigorously denied and dismissed by Fifa. Also, Fifa president Sepp Blatter is not generally keen on dual bids, while Portugal hosted the European Championship as recently as 2004.

Say what? "We have the infrastructure, food, hotels, tourism, climate. All this makes us a strong candidate to host the 2018 finals" - Former Portugal international Luis Figo

Bid chiefs Villar and Madail: "We have the backing of millions of fans of this wonderful sporting spectacle. We have presented a single bid with a single centre, which is Madrid. It's as if the whole of Iberia was one country."

NETHERLANDS & BELGIUM

Main stadium: Belgium - Brussels Stadium, 80,000 (Brussels); Netherlands - Feyenoord Stadium (de Kuip), 47,491 (Rotterdam)
Last World Cup hosted: n/a
Bid leader: Dutch FA president Michael van Praag
Bid motto: Together For Great Goals
Famous faces: Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit

Pros: Successfully hosted the European Championship in 2000. Backed by star power in the shape of Gullit and Cruyff. Promoting itself as the most environmentally friendly bid, with short journeys for spectators.

Cons: Fifa's dislike for co-hosts. Could be muscled out of the running by larger European rivals. Both countries have dense road networks, with traffic jams common.

Say what? "It will be the greenest World Cup ever with an environment protection plan the world has never seen before. We will try to give two million bikes to all the fans, so they can go everywhere" - Former Dutch footballer Ruud Gullit

Bid leader Van Praag: "Belgium and Dutch have well-behaved fans, facilities, security and political stability that make the two countries the best host for the job. The competition is stiff but we believe we can get the support we need."

RUSSIA

Main stadium: Luzhniki Stadium, 78,360, (Moscow)
Last World Cup hosted: n/a
Bid leader: Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko
Bid motto: Ready To Inspire
Famous face: Alexei Smertin

Alexei Smertin

Pros: The fact that Russia has never hosted the event could work in its favour. The bid has full government backing, a vast budget and has been described as "remarkable" by Blatter. Would open the country up to hundreds of thousands of foreigners.

Cons: Security could be a concern. So could the enormous distances between venues, resulting in plenty of air travel. Russia did not qualify for South Africa 2010, missing out on the chance to showcase their team and lobby Fifa officials.

Say what? "Playing at World Cups was the pinnacle of my career. To help to bring one to Russia would be an even greater personal achievement" - Former USSR goalkeeper Rinat Dasaev

Bid leader Mutko: "Soccer is the world's most popular sport, therefore it must leave a long-lasting legacy for a World Cup host. I think from that point of view Russia has a big edge over its rivals."


And the five contenders for the 2022 World Cup:

JAPAN

Main stadium: International Stadium, 72,000 (Yokohama)
Last World Cup hosted: 2002
Bid leader: Japan Football Association president Motoaki Inukai
Bid motto: 208 Smiles! (Inspired by the fact that Fifa has 208 member countries)
Famous face: Hidetoshi Nakata

Hidetoshi Nakata

Pros: The bid has plenty of cash and co-hosted a friendly and trouble-free World Cup in 2002, with the stadiums still in top condition. Strong line in innovation, illustrated by the use of an origami pop-out in their pitch to Fifa.

Cons: The fact that they were co-hosts as recently as 2002. Dropped bid for 2018 after Blatter strongly hinted it would go to a European country. Lack of government support.

Say what? "The 2002 World Cup was a fantastic tournament. The level of organisation and the passion of the fans were quite exceptional. A World Cup hosted by Japan in 2022 would be something... truly special" - Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni

Bid leader Inukai: "I was hoping Fifa would rate our proposal more than they did. We had much higher expectations."

AUSTRALIA

Main stadium: Melbourne Cricket ground, 100,108 (Melbourne)
Last World Cup hosted: n/a
Bid leader: Australian Football Federation chairman Frank Lowy
Bid motto: Come Play!
Famous face: Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Pros: A sport-mad nation with a proven history of staging successful sports events. Could have the appeal of spreading the game to new pastures. Star backing in the form of Formula 1 driver Mark Webber, swimmer Ian Thorpe and Hollywood stars Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Cons: Most of Australia's biggest stadiums are used by other sports, like Aussie Rules and rugby league, whose seasons overlap with World Cup. Those sports are also more popular than football in Australia. Games would be at wrong time for lucrative European TV markets.

Say what? "The race to bring the World Cup to Australia is on. Like Formula 1 driving, you need belief, passion and Aussie grit to be successful" -Formula 1 driver Mark Webber

Bid leader Lowy: "I know we have the best bid. I know we have convinced many of the Fifa executive committee that we have the best bid. But will we have the critical 13 votes needed to win it? In my heart, I really believe so."

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Main stadium: Rose Bowl, 91,000, (Pasadena)
Last World Cup hosted: 1994
Bid leaders: US Soccer president Sunil Gulati
Bid motto: The Game Is In US
Famous face: Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Pros: Infrastructure in place from the 1994 World Cup. Soccer continues to grow in popularity in the country. The bid is supported by President Barack Obama and will offer Fifa big financial rewards. Has backing of Mexico and the Concacaf region.

Cons: Football is growing but still well down the pecking order of national sports.

Say what? "In my travels around the world - from the dirt fields of Lusaka, Zambia, to playgrounds in schools across America - I've seen the power soccer has to transform lives. I'm proud to represent the US in our bid to bring the World Cup back to American soil, allowing us to inspire action and cooperation on an even greater scale" - Honorary bid chairman Bill Clinton

Bid leader Gulati: "We've got all of the infrastructure in place - and it's extraordinary infrastructure. In elections, you never know where you are until the very last minute, until the vote is taken. There's not accurate polling, per se. So we'll continue to work until the last minute."

SOUTH KOREA

Main stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium, 66,000, (Seoul)
Last World Cup hosted: 2002
Bid leader: Former foreign minister Han Sung-Joo
Bid motto: Passion That Unites
Famous face: Park Ji-Sung

Park Ji-Sung

Pros: The country has world-class stadiums and transport links, is arguably the world's most hi-tech nation and has excellent rail and road networks. Also boasts the most successful national team in Asia, with seven consecutive World Cup appearances.

Cons: Co-hosted the tournament in 2002 and Fifa may be looking to new pastures in Asia. Uneasy relationship with neighbours North Korea, who South Korea say they might ask to stage a handful of games.

Say what? "Football can make things different and football can make change around the world. I hope football can do something for Korea" - South Korea's Park Ji-Sung

Bid leader Sung-Joo: "We have a very good case to make in terms of transportation, hardware, communication, opportunities. We are within around 10 hours travelling of the US and Europe and four hours of one third of the world's population. People will come."

QATAR

Main stadium: Lusail Stadium, 86,250, (Lusail City, Doha)
Last World Cup hosted: n/a
Bid leader: Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar
Bid motto: Expect Amazing
Famous face: Bid ambassador Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

Pros: The potential to take the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time. Money is no object, with several state-of-the-art stadiums already in progress, while commercial gains could be huge. Former Premier League spokesman Mike Lee, who helped London and Rio win the Olympics, is working on the bid.

Cons: The ferocious heat, which could reach 50 degrees Celsius. The compact nature of the country, with 10 out of the 12 stadiums being located within a 25-30 km radius. Lack of atmosphere at England-Brazil friendly last November.

Say what: "Football is for everyone. When I think of all the youth of the Middle East, what they're missing is an event like the World Cup. We had the 2010 World Cup in Africa and now it is time for the Middle East" - France World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane

Bid leader Sheikh Mohammed: "What we can do in the Middle East is unmatched in any other region, by any other competitor. Football affects us more than anything. It can change our mindsets more than anything. We need this World Cup in the Middle East. People in the Middle East - their hopes and dreams are resting on the success of this bid."

Reporting by BBC Sport's Marc Vesty, Sam Sheringham and Jonathan Stevenson


Find out more about the 22 men who will decide the 2018 and 2022 hosts- Profiles: The World Cup in their hands



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see also
England's World Cup 2018 bid video
26 Nov 10 |  Football
Spain & Portugal's official 2018 promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia's official 2018 World Cup promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Australia's official 2022 promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Japan's official 2022 World Cup promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Qatar's official 2022 World Cup promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
South Korea's official 2022 promo
01 Dec 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England stars join 2018 bid team
26 Nov 10 |  Football
Oceania seeks World Cup reprieve
27 Nov 10 |  Football
South Americans back Iberia bid
25 Nov 10 |  Football
Cameron visit boost for 2018 bid
23 Nov 10 |  Football
Dein calls for 2018 bid support
23 Nov 10 |  Football
England bid not damaged - Blatter
19 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa 'corruption' pair given bans
18 Nov 10 |  Football
Russia 2018 bid dealt Fifa blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
Qatar 2022 bid hopes suffer blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
England 2018 team write to Fifa
15 Nov 10 |  Football


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