Portugal and Spain hailed as ideal 'hosts'

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The Independent Football

Spain and Portugal boast "ideal" venues for the World Cup and have a strong chance of being elected as tournament host, according to the head of Fifa's inspection team.

The pair have individual experience of hosting major football tournaments but have entered a joint bid to attract the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022, for which Fifa is undertaking an inspection programme.

Spain and Portugal are vying with several other bidders, including England, to host the tournament and the Fifa delegation head, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, has promised the joint Iberian bid a favourable report after completing a four-day inspection.

"The Iberian bid has many chances of being elected to organise the football World Cup in 2018 or 2022," he said. "Our report is going to be very positive because we have observed that they have a great sport, hotel and transport infrastructure, as well as a strong support from their political and sports authorities."

After ending its inspection in Lisbon at Benfica's 65,000-capacity Estadio da Luz, Mayne-Nicholls lauded the bid's stadiums as the "ideal sceneries for millions ... who follow football on a permanent basis".

The Fifa team, which visited England last month, heads to the US next week before ending its whistle-stop tour of potential hosts in Qatar, ahead of the Fifa executive committee's final decisions on 2018-22 on 2 December.