By Ollie Irish
This morning the bid teams from England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium presented their cases for hosting the World Cup in 2018. Cue cheesy videos set to Eurotrance, lots of talk of “our children’s legacy”, the odd teary eye and – the most horrific sight of all – intelligent men and women kissing the wrinkled arse of one of the very worst people in sport, aka Uncle Sepp Blatter. So, your average FIFA circus then.
Here’s how we rated the four bids, in the same order the bid teams presented:
Johan Cruyff: this cool motherfucker wants you to vote for Netherlands/Belgium
Netherlands/Belgium – Lashings of Johan Cruyff, a dash of Ruud Gullit (the bid’s president) and a smidgen of Jean-Marie Pfaff (great Belgian keeper of the 1980s) – yes, Holland and Belgium have produced some tasty players. Guus Hiddink also showed up, to remind people that Euro 2000 was brill. A double-edged comment, as it reminds people that Euro 2000 was also in… 2000. The bid also played up the ecological angle – the Dutch love to cycle everywhere, in other words.
Verdict: A solid, if uninspiring presentation with few weak points, but this bid is a rank outsider at 40/1. Even the best presentation in the world won’t change the fact that we won’t be going Dutch (or Belgian) in eight years’ time.
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There is A LOT of sunshine in Spain and Portugal. Take Benidorm here, for example
Spain/Portugal – Portugal prime minister Jose Socrates and Spanish president Jose Luiz Rodriguez both bothered to show up in person, to talk about how great their respective nations are. Rodriguez played up just how much sunshine the Iberian region gets a year (a bit more than in Hull, apparently), and much was made of Iberia’s close ties with South America and Africa. There was talk of Portugal legend Eusebio appearing, but he was a no-show. Strange.
Verdict: Where was the passion, the wit, the sparkle? All in all, this was a terrible presentation,