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ENGLAND

The early favourites, England have the stadia, infrastructure and profile to warrant that position. Football Association and bid chairman Lord Triesman has rightly identified the support of UEFA president Michel Platini as the key to success. Some doubts persist however because of the Premier League’s enduring antipathy to Platini. Odds: 11-10.

AUSTRALIA


Best of the candidates from the Asian confederation and the most likely destination if 2018 does not go to Europe. Can point to the fact that it would be a new territory for the World Cup, something that FIFA likes, plus it is a sport-crazy nation with good infrastructure Staged a small publicity coup this week when they handed a bag promoting their bid to Warner and other power-brokers gathering at the Leaders In Football conference in London. Odds: 10-1.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL


Powerful opponents for England. FIFA have decided to accept a joint bid from the Iberian neighbours, who both have excellent stadia and can be sure of the three South American votes on FIFA’s 24-man executive committee. Odds: 2-1.

RUSSIA


Major players in football politics, especially as UEFA president Platini came to power on the back of support from eastern Europe. But the vast distances - there are nine time zones - and the struggles of Ukraine and Poland over preparing for Euro 2012 may persuade FIFA members to go for a safer bet. Odds: 5-1.

HOLLAND AND BELGIUM


Can at least demonstrate they worked well together to put on Euro 2000 and have the facilities but perhaps not the glamour of England or the joint Spain/Portugal bid. Odds: 8-1.

USA


Strong candidates, but for 2022 rather than 2018 which is more likely to go to Europe, and Warner has been a forceful advocate of going for the later tournament. Hosted the 1994 competition and that was judged a great success, with FIFA sure to remember fondly the television and marketing opportunities. Odds: 33-1.

JAPAN


Recent hosts, in 2002 jointly with South Korea, and would undoubtedly be another commercial and administrative success. But at the moment are distant outsiders with little political clout. Odds: 100-1.

INDONESIA


Surprise entrants and rank outsiders with little heritage, infrastructure and influence to boast of. Odds: 100-1.

SOUTH KOREA


Joint hosts with Japan in 2002 and while the logistics of playing across two countries almost persuaded FIFA to abandon the dual hosting concept in the future, the tournament would be a commercial and organisational success as a single entity and the passion for football among the Korean people demonstrated seven years ago would also be a draw. However, Australia look like the most likely hosts from the Asian confederation. Odds: not available.


SBS - theworldgame.com.au

The Press Association Sport rates the progress of rival bidders vying to host the 2018 World Cup. The odds referred to are courtesy of Coral.