How bids stack up
We examine the strengths and weaknesses of the countries out to secure the 2018 World Cup.
Last Updated: 01/12/10 4:10pm
If it was a simple matter of football then those who have worked so hard to bring the 2018 World Cup to England could rest easy in their beds.
The stadia are in place. Old Trafford, the Emirates and the rest, all tried and tested and universally acknowledged as among the world's safest and best.
On top of that England has been given a 'low risk' security category and the hotels, roads and general infrastructure are all in place.
But there is more to securing the vital Fifa votes than that with Russia and the joint bids from Spain and Portugal, and Holland and Belgium also making strong cases for being handed football's greatest prize.
Here we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the respective bids.
1: Strong technical bid, judged as low risk by Fifa's inspectors.
2: Excellent stadiums and atmosphere.
3: Premier League's global reach means English football known across the world.
4: Commercially and financially, a safe pair of hands.
5: No major transport issues.
6: Strong international legacy package.
1: Fifa's reputation has been damaged by British media investigations including the BBC's Panorama show. England's complaint about Russia for making negative comments ill-judged.
2: Bid has gone through a series of crises: criticism from Jack Warner, in-fighting, Lord Triesman's resignation.
3: Some existing ill-feeling towards Britain's privileged position in having their own FIFA vice-president.
4: The fact everything is already in place is a negative in some eyes: will have nothing to show from hosting the World Cup.
1: A strong technical bid - rated equal to England's by Fifa inspectors, with good stadiums in both countries.
2: Portugal have never hosted the World Cup so FIFA would be going to some new territory.
3: Astute political negotiations has seen Iberians team up with 2022 bid Qatar to secure block of eight votes including the South Americans.
4: Excellent transport links including high-speed rail.
5: Holiday destinations mean plenty of good-quality hotels.
1: Held the World Cup fairly recently - Spain in 1982.
2: Had a very low-key bid - carried out virtually no publicity campaigns at all.
3: Fifa have had bad experiences with joint hosting in the past.
4: No powerful international legacy package to speak of.
5: Spain and Portugal both experiencing serious problems with the economy.
1: Would be a new territory for the World Cup - something that appeals strongly to Fifa president Sepp Blatter.
2: Have carried out an impressive campaign with lobbyist with excellent Fifa connections.
3: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's political clout is a major plus.
4: Huge building programme would leave a fantastic legacy from a World Cup.
1: Judged a medium operational risk by Fifa's inspectors - and air transport a high risk.
2: Huge building programme carries its own challenges.
3: Enormous size of the country not great for fans.
4: Have struggled to shake off impression that racism among Russian fans is a problem.
1: Have never hosted the World Cup so would be a new territory for Fifa.
2: Have recent experience of hosting major football event - Euro 2000.
3: Stadiums and transport facilities judged to be good and operationally rated as low risk by Fifa.
4: Plenty of hotel rooms means no issue with fans' accommodation.
1: Rated as a medium legal risk by Fifa inspectors due to lack of required government guarantees.
2: Struggled from the start to overcome the view that they were the outsiders.
3: Joint bids viewed as a potential issue by Fifa.