Beckham 'honoured' to deliver 2018 bid to Fifa

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The Independent Football

A heartfelt and unscripted speech from David Beckham marked a successful finale to England's delivery of their bid book for the 2018 World Cup finals to Fifa in Zurich yesterday. The former England captain told Sepp Blatter that "football runs through our veins" in pressing the case for a bid that has gathered momentum after a difficult beginning.

England and Russia are regarded as favourites to host the finals, which are almost certain to go to Europe. The decision will be announced on 2 December after an August inspection of the countries. The two other European contenders are joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/ Belgium, whose bid book was delivered by Johan Cruyff on a bicycle.

"I'm here on behalf of our fans," said Beckham. "Football runs through our veins. We are all brought up on it. It's truly an honour to be here."

He later told a press conference: "If we win the vote, it would be up there with anything I have achieved as a player."

Beckham also said that his exact role with England at the World Cup finals in South Africa next month depends on the progress of treatment on his Achilles injury.

"I've spoken to the manager and Franco Baldini and they have made me well aware that I have a role to play with the players and the team," said Beckham. "We have not discussed specifics but I'm honoured that a manager of Fabio's status feels I can be important. I am hoping to travel with the team but obviously we'll have to see how my therapy goes."