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Capello backs 2018 bid

England coach Fabio Capello has declared it is time for football "to come home" and thrown his weight behind the country's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

England, who are credited with inventing football, won the competition on the one and only time they hosted the finals in 1966 and will battle it out with 11 other preliminary bidders to stage the championship in nine years' time.

"I think England would be a fantastic place for the World Cup," the Italian said. "The stadia are OK, the people are fantastic as well so I think it needs to come back here after so many years."

"The stadia are OK, the people are fantastic as well so I think it needs to come back here after so many years," Capello said. "I hope this will be in 2018 because England is the place where football was born. I think England needs football to come back home."

England have been installed as early favourites by the bookmakers but officials involved in the bid admitted earlier this week that they face tough competition from the likes of Spain and Portugal, who have lodged a joint bid, and Russia.

The details of the actual bidding process will not be revealed until February 16 but FIFA have already decided a country will not be considered for 2022 if their continent is hosting 2018.

The countries who have submitted bids are: England, Spain/Portugal, Russia, Holland/Belgium, USA, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and Indonesia.

Football Association chairman Lord Triesman, meanwhile, has played down the favourites tag and warned that everyone involved will have to give their all if the bid is to be successful.

"We are going to work hard at it," Triesman said. "I am not going to start with the belief that we are favourites."

"We have to demonstrate that we can win it on merit but very often it is the toughest competition that sharpens your game the most.

"I welcome this like I would welcome the kind of match between two clubs at the top of their game."

He continued by saying he is optimistic that hosting the competition would have a positive effect on the country and the wider world.

"It would leave a legacy all around the footballing world and help health and education in the country as well," he added.

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