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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 12:46 GMT
Germany win World Cup vote
Claudia Schiffer and Franz Beckenbauer
Winners: Claudia Schiffer and 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.

Bobby Charlton and Alec McGivan
England's campaign team knew the game was up
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 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.

  First round voting
Germany 10
South Africa 6
England 5
Morocco 3
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.

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.

Roger Milla
Cameroon soccer star Roger Milla helped South Africa's campaign
"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.

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."

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See also:

06 Jul 00 |  Sports Talk
Are Germany worthy hosts of 2006?
06 Jul 00 |  Football
England's World Cup 'humiliation'
06 Jul 00 |  2006 World Cup decision
How England's bid failed
05 Jul 00 |  2006 World Cup decision
World Cup bids reach final hurdle
04 Jul 00 |  2006 World Cup decision
Morocco chief slams Brazilian withdrawal
From BBC News:

06 Jul 00 |  2006 World Cup decision
Why South Africa's bid failed
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