England will withdraw its bid to host the 2022 World Cup if the United States pull out of the running for the 2018 competition, international president of the bid David Dein has confirmed.
The US has recently hinted that it will withdraw its efforts and focus purely on 2022, which would leave the 2018 tournament to be contested by just European countries.
And if England thereafter pulled out of the 2022 race, it would mean four rival Asian bidders would go against America for that competition, formalising the continental and political groupings for both events.
Qatar, South Korea, Japan and Australia are concentrating on 2022, but if the US pulls out of the 2018 race, none of the Europeans would bid for 2022 as one continent cannot host successive finals.
Dein said: "Michel Platini (the Uefa president) believes that 2018 should come to Europe and we believe that is our strongest case.
"We are sure it won't be long before the United States will withdraw from 2018 leaving themselves a run on 2022.
"We are not really interested in 2022, consequently we will almost certainly withdraw from 2022, leaving us with a European battle."
As things stand, England are up against Russia, the United States, and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland for the 2018 World Cup.
The decision on who will host the showpiece spectacle will be announced by Fifa in Zurich on 2nd December and Dein is desperate to land the competition in eight years' time.
"We have been in six countries in the last 13 days and we desperately want to win the right to stage the World Cup," he added.
"We are passionate about it and believe it will be a sporting success, a social success and a financial success and that is the message we want to get to everybody and the executive committee members."