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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Beckenbauer backs England's 2018 World Cup bid

England have ''a great chance'' of winning the contest to host the 2018 World Cup, according to Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer.

Beckenbauer, one of the 24 FIFA top brass who will decide on the 2018 venue, insists England is well-placed to win the race.

He also believes England's success under Fabio Capello has done wonders for their bid after the embarrassment of failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Speaking after FIFA's executive committee delayed a final decision on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments until December, Beckenbauer said: ''England will have a great chance for 2018 because if it is going to come to Europe, which is my feeling for how it will go, then England will be in a very strong position.

''They have the best club football, the best infrastructure, and they have the fans.

''The national team did not perform so well when they failed to make Euro 2008 but they are back on track now under Fabio Capello in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and that is important.''

FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted executive members had agreed in principle that the 2018 and 2022 tournaments should be voted on at the same time, in 2011.

He told a news conference in Zurich: ''Three or four members asked to postpone the final decision for several weeks to look at not only the advantages but some inconveniences that may happen.

''The principle has been accepted however.''

The delay means England's detailed plans for their campaign remain somewhat in limbo.

It would certainly be a blow to their hopes if only the 2018 tournament went to a vote in 2011 because it would probably mean the USA, potentially major rivals, entering the race.

If there were a double tender for 2018 and 2022, the USA would be more likely to target the later tournament.

Meanwhile, the Football Association have confirmed they will pursue Jamaica for a £135,000 debt despite the Caribbean country's FA believing they would write off the sum.

The row is potentially damaging to England's 2018 World Cup bid as Jamaican FA president Captain Horace Burrell is a close ally of FIFA powerbroker Jack Warner, a vice-president of the world governing body.

Burrell insists FA executive Simon Johnson ratified a plan in April to write off the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) debt in return for a credit towards a youth training centre on the island.

The FA say the agreement needed to be signed off by the FA board - but there has been no move to present the deal to the board since then and there are no plans to do so.

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