The race to host the two World Cups following the next one in Brazil has began, and FIFA officials will now start visiting a number of the candidate countries to take a look at their sports facilities. This is perhaps the most important stage of the process, as it gives the judges a direct insight into the strengths and weaknesses each country possesses. For all of FIFA’s problems, I think they have shown great judgment in picking the host nations and giving new ones a chance, as the recent tournaments in South Korea, Japan and South Africa turned out to be a big success.

As a reminder, the candidates are South Korea, Australia, Netherlands/Belgium, Russia, England, Spain/Portugal, Qatar, Japan and the United States. Half of those have never hosted the WC before, and it would really be interesting to see the competition in a country like Qatar or Australia, although, to be fair, I expect them to have the smallest chances too. South Korea and Japan may also be at a little bit of a disadvantage, having hosted the competition last decade, but they did it so well that they might still be in the running. England are being placed as favorites for the 2018 WC, but then we all know how the story goes when the English have big expectations.

The final decision for both tournaments will be made in December of this year, so interesting times are ahead.

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