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Who should host 2018 World Cup?

  • Story Highlights
  • Expressions of interest in holding the FIFA 2018 World Cup close in February
  • England, Spain/Portugal, Australia and Russia are among the top contenders
  • Tell us who you think should be awarded the 2018 event
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- In the first week of February FIFA will close its deadline for countries to express interest in hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cup events.

Qatar is in the running for the 2018 World Cup after hosting a memorable Asian Games in 2006.

There have been a few predictable entries, and a couple of surprises -- and there is still a possibility that a joint Palestinian/Israeli bid will be put forward. (It is not formal at this stage, but there is a Web site dedicated to the bid.)

However, getting awarded the event will be no easy feat. Candidate countries must provide about 12 stadiums (each capable of holding at least 40,000 fans) and one stadium capable of seating 80,000 for the opening match and final.

We want you to have a look through the possibilities andtell us who you think should host the tournament.

FIFA said this week it already had six bids on the table from Indonesia, England, Japan, Qatar, Russia and a joint application from Spain and Portugal.

Football Fanzone
Football fans, the chance to have YOUR say on CNN is here!

The U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced the country's intention to bid for the games.

The plans will be formally unveiled at a media conference on February 2, which is the deadline for countries to formally submit their proposals.

The decision on who will host the 2018 and 2022 events is not expected until December 2010.

Below Football Fanzone takes a look at the main contenders for the 2018 World Cup and their chances of clinching the bid:

England

The English bid has arrived fairly late in the process, but nevertheless, the wealth of stadiums in the country mean the home of the Premier League will put forward a good case to FIFA. The chief executive of the England bid, Andy Anson, told the UK's Press Association, "We believe we have a very strong case to bring the tournament to England and the challenge now is to put together a compelling presentation to showcase to the world."

Portugal/Spain

The joint bid from Spain and Portugal has the weight of experience behind it. Spain has hosted a World Cup in 1982, while Portugal hosted the 2004 European Championships -- after beating off a bid from Spain. Both countries have passionate football followers and also offer plenty of stadiums to choose from.

Qatar

The World Cup has never gone to the Middle East, and if it goes there in 2018 it'll be money that takes it. It would seem odd that such a tiny state could host the event, but after being shunned for the 2016 Olympics, Qatari officials have promised the gas and oil-rich state will invest heavily in the appropriate infrastructure.

Russia

The World Cup has never been held in Russia (or the former USSR) and Russian football officials have admitted that plenty of investment will be required if they are to hold the event in 2018 or 2022. Still, if FIFA is looking to continue growing the game, a country like Russia could provide a similar impact to the popular 2002 event in Korea and Japan.

Australia

Australia sits in one of football's most neglected regions, so much so the country's football federation left Oceania in favor of Asia. But surely that setting is more of a reason to give it to Australia than not to. The national team have been strong in recent years -- unlucky to lose to eventual champions Italy in the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, and there's no doubt that the Aussies would put on an equally good show as they did with the 2000 Olympics and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Belgium/Netherlands

The second of Europe's joint bids, the Netherlands and Belgium do offer the benefits of being easily accessible to all of Europe and the former being a top contender in recent major events.

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