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England 2018 Cup rivals confirmed

The World Cup
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said joint bids are likely to fail

Fifa has confirmed that England faces 10 rival bids for the right to host the 2018 World Cup after the deadline for showing interest passed on Tuesday.

Joint bids from Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium and one from Russia have also come from Europe.

Australia, the United States, Mexico, Qatar and Indonesia are other nations in the running to stage the tournament.

Japan and South Korea, who co-hosted in 2002, have shown solo interest, with the vote taking place in December 2010.

England have been named as early favourites to host the 2018 World Cup but Football Association chairman Lord Triesman was keen to play down the tag.

"I am not going to start with the belief that we are favourites," he said.

"We have to demonstrate that we can win it on merit but very often it is the toughest competition that sharpens your game the most.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

"I welcome this like I would welcome the kind of match between two clubs at the top of their game."

Triesman, who is chairman of the England bid, was joined by England head coach Fabio Capello and secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Andy Burnham to meet Fifa president Sepp Blatter and put forward the bid at Fifa headquarters in Zurich.

"It was extremely helpful to be able to confirm the Government's support for the initiative," Triesman added.

The joint applications, from the Netherlands and Belgium and Spain and Portugal, are known not to be favoured by Fifa president Sepp Blatter

"As soon as there is a [sole] candidacy or three or four relevant candidacies, we are directly going to reject the double candidacies," he told a South American Football Confederation meeting last week.

Though there is no official Fifa policy to oppose joint bids, there is pressure on Spain to bid without Portugal attached.

"Countries capable of staging the event alone should do so," said a Fifa spokesman.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium is likely to play a key role in England's 2018 bid

Fifa said in December that bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be announced at the same time in December 2010.

Should a 2018 bid fail, it now means countries can enter the 2022 vote straight afterwards, although Fifa's tournament rotation policy prevents a nation from hosting the World Cup if either of the previous two tournaments were held on the same continent.

As such, should another European nation win the right to host the 2018 World Cup, England could not bid for 2022.

South American countries may not bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups because Brazil will host the 2014 tournament.

Australia's campaign is likely to receive support from Blatter, who said in May 2008 that it would be "very special" if the tournament went down under for the first time.

"We know we have the capacity, experience and expertise to deliver a successful Fifa World Cup," stated Football Federation of Australia chairman Frank Lowy.

Full details of the tendering process will be sent to the potential host nations by 16 February, with final documents for each bid to be submitted by May 2010.

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see also
England receives 2018 bid boost
30 Jan 09 |  Internationals
Russia enters race to host 2018
20 Jan 09 |  Internationals
FA appoints 2018 bid team members
06 Jan 09 |  Internationals
Fifa unveils 2022 World Cup plan
20 Dec 08 |  Internationals
Tennis chief handed 2018 bid role
20 Nov 08 |  Internationals
Blatter backs Australia Cup bid
24 May 08 |  Internationals

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