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Sep 3, 2010

FIFA: Spain and Portugal venues 'ideal' for finals

Spain and Portugal boast "ideal'' venues for the World Cup and have a strong chance of being elected as tournament host, according to the head of FIFA's inspection team.

The pair have individual experience of hosting major football tournaments but have entered a joint bid to attract the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022, for which FIFA is currently undertaking its inspection programme.

Spain and Portugal are vying with several other bidders, including England, to host the tournament and FIFA inspection delegation head Harold Mayne-Nicholls has promised the joint Iberian bid a favourable report after completing a four-day inspection.

"The Iberian bid has many chances of being elected to organise the football World Cup in 2018 or 2022,'' he said. "Our report is going to be very positive because we have observed that they have a great sport, hotel and transport infrastructure, as well as a strong support from their political and sports authorities''

After ending its inspection in Lisbon at Benfica's 65,647-capacity Estadio da Luz, Mayne-Nicholls lauded the bid's stadiums as the "ideal sceneries for millions of sports people who follow football on a permanent basis''.

The Chilean Football Federation president also highlighted the close co-operation between the two nations, adding: "We are sure that the coordination on a state level which would be necessary if the World Cup came to the Iberian Peninsula is fully guaranteed.''

Russia, England, the United States, Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal are in the race to host either the World Cup's 21st or 22nd edition, while Japan, Australia, Qatar and South Korea have applied solely for the 2022 finals.

The FIFA inspection team head to the United States next week before ending its whistle-stop tour of potential tournament hosts in Qatar, ahead of the FIFA executive committee's final decision on December 2.

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