Beckham flies English flag

LONDON - David Beckham launched England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup by insisting no other country can match their passion for the globe's biggest sporting event.

LONDON - David Beckham launched England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup by insisting no other country can match their passion for the globe's biggest sporting event.

England midfielder Beckham was at Wembley yesterday as the English Football Association began its attempt to convince Fifa, football's governing body, that they should stage the four-yearly tournament.

England hosted their only World Cup in 1966 when Alf Ramsey's team won the event, but the nation's appetite for football is so strong that Beckham believes it is only right the competition should finally return 52 years after that historic victory.

"To have the World Cup in your own country is the dream of any player. I know first-hand the passion of our fans and they would provide an incredible atmosphere at every game," said the former England captain.

"There's no bigger support than our fans. There are full stadiums everywhere. Some of the biggest players in the world, [Zinedine] Zidane and Ronaldo, ask me what it's like to play in England. They love that passion."

"Our country is renowned for getting excited by big events. I don't think any country in the world can compete with us for that."

England face competition from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the US and joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands, and Portugal and Spain. - Sapa-AFP

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