Blatter: Russia WC bid remarkable

LONDON - Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals was "remarkable", FIFA president Sepp Blatter was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Blatter travelled to Russia in January to meet the country's president Dmitry Medvedev and was impressed by their plans.

"I was there recently and what they presented is remarkable," he told the London Evening Standard newspaper. "Russia is not a country but a continent and Russia has big plans to expand."

The FIFA president said England had the infrastructure in place to stage the tournament but gave a clear hint Russia would be a major contender to stage the finals.

"Listen, it (England's bid) is the easiest bid in the world. They have the football already organised. They have everything. England has no problem in delivering a World Cup.

"The other bidders must convince the executive. England does not have to convince us.

"We know England can stage the World Cup. But England winning (the right to stage it) - I am not so sure.

Russia and England are joined by Japan and Australia in individually hoping to stage the tournament while Portugal and Spain plus Netherlands and Belgium are submitting joint bids.

"I think for 2018 it will be a European candidate," Blatter said. "But apart from England you have the bid from Spain and Portugal, the small but very pleasant bid of the Netherlands and Belgium, and the big Russia also wants to come in.

The hosts of the 2018 World Cup will be decided at a meeting of FIFA's executive committee in December.

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