Given all the controversy surrounding the media and the England 2018 Bid it is easy to forget that tomorrow FIFA also decide on who is hosting the 2022 World Cup. Today the five Bidding countries make their final presentations to the FIFA Executive Committee. These 30 minute slots are the last chance to impress and capture the necessary votes. Australia are first up, followed by South Korea, Qatar and USA, with Japan the final country to present.
From a purely personal viewpoint, I’d like to see Australia get the nod. It would meet FIFA’s desire of taking the Finals to new countries and would be a reward for all the strides the Aussies have taken in developing their domestic League (A-League). The national team are no strangers to the world stage and have played in three World Cup Finals; 1974 (West Germany), 2006 (Germany) and 2010 (South Africa). Australia has a fantastic sporting tradition and is a sports-mad nation, given this, the Aussies would put on a real show and be a perfect host for 2022.
The bookies however are tipping Qatar as favourites, followed by Australia and USA. Qatar have lined up an impressive array of Ambassadors for their Bid including, French World Cup winning captain Zinedine Zidane, Saudi Arabian striker Sami Al-Jaber, who played in the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups and was the first Saudi player in England when he made a handful of appearances for Wolves. Others pressing the claims of the Qatar Bid include Argentinean legend Gabriel Batistuta, Netherlands star Ronald de Boer (who has played in Qatar), Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, Cameroon icon Roger Milla and Bora Milutinovic who coached five different teams to five consecutive World Cups, Mexico in 1986, Costa Rica in 1990, USA in 1994, Nigeria in 1998 and China in 2002.
To rip-off a song used by cricket fans Down-Under, “C’mon Aussies, C’mon, C’mon” As an Englishman I never thought I’d hear myself say that.