2018 World Cup: Ranking the Contenders To Host
As the bidding and decision process draws to an end, I'll have a look at the bidders and try to rank the likelihood of their success based on their footballing heritage, footballing infrastructure and economic position.
It has been a selection with no little excitement, stories of mysterious trysts and the ever shifting alliances of the European nations have led to accusations of foul play.
Tomorrow we will find out who will host in 2018.
The contenders are...
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Russia's bid has been shrouded in some controversy, linked heavily with negative insinuations on England's chances of hosting the World Cup.
These stories aside, the first problem that comes to mind is a geographical one.
The amount of potential travelling around Europe's biggest nation from game to game could be staggering. The distances involved could mean internal flights would be required for fans to get from ground to ground (nations are limited to how many grounds can be in one area), which would massively increase the cost of the journey.
In a time when C02 emissions are counted so carefully, thousands of people flying and driving would certainly anger campaigners.
Russia's public transport outside of central hubs is another issue needing rectifying.
Ground wise, the Russian league is well equipped with stadia, though they are not as luxurious as other parts of the world.
This might be remedied as the Russian bid team have been quoted as saying that there is 10 billion euros for use should they win the bid.
Some of this would go into extending current stadiums to create an "elite" stadium as the World Cup final stadium must seat at least 80,000 people.
3: Belgium and The Netherlands
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These two small European nations are in a good position for hosting.
Their physical layout is conducive to easier transportation from match to match, while both (but mainly Holland) have well organised leagues and footballing infrastructure.
One problem is the relatively small size of the grounds in these nations. There are currently no 80,000 seaters available, and no ground which could conceivably be converted, meaning the construction of a new stadium would be required.
2: Portugal and Spain
The Iberian peninsular is another possible setting for the 2018 World Cup finals.
Both have excellent footballing histories, pedigree and infrastructure, and the vibrant cities of Spain and Portugal would be a gorgeous setting for the World Cup.
There are currently huge stadiums available in both nations, though of the 12 required, Spain would supply eight.
This is a strong bid and it carries real weight behind it, especially as Spain are the current holders.
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Fronted by David Beckham, the English bid is another heavyweight.
They boast some of the worlds most famous stadiums like Old Trafford and Wembley, and it's a perfect setting for the most popular league in the world.
The English bid has been embroiled in some controversy, worries about dishonest dealings between Russia and Spain, as well as Panorama investigating Fifa days before the vote for host. This all may cost England dear, but of the nations, it is possibly the best equipped to deal with a large-scale tournament.
The Olympics will have been hosted a few years earlier and the sporting infrastructure will still be in place to deal with the thousands and thousands of visitors.